Posts Tagged “1 Kings”

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While fall doesn’t officially start until about three weeks into the month, the beginning of September always feels like the beginning of fall to me. And it’s always a time when routines are adjusted to the change in schedules. Be sure to keep your Bible reading in your schedule! Our Resting at the River’s Edge schedule will help you stay on track, reading four or five chapters each weekday. If you fall behind, don’t worry about it! That’s why we only schedule readings on weekdays – so we can use the weekend to catch up. And if you can’t catch up on weekends, still don’t worry about it! Just keep reading at a pace that allows you to enjoy God’s Word. I’m confident that God will reveal Himself to you as you take time to get to know Him.

Click on one of the following buttons to open a PDF file of the September/October bookmark or all bookmarks. After the file has opened, you can print it or save it to your hard drive from your browser’s file menu.

Click here for the Sept/Oct 2013 recommended reading bookmark. Click here to download all bookmarks for 2013.

The September Reading Schedule also appears at the end of this blog.

I look forward to hearing from you about how God is speaking to you through His Word during the coming month. Email me, leave a message on our Apprehending Grace Facebook page, or post a comment at the end of any blog.

Blessings, Friends!
Sandy

The recommended reading schedule for September is below.

Resting at the River's Edge Reading Schedule for September 2013

Here’s how the Resting at the River’s Edge reading schedules are organized:

  • The first two columns of the schedule allow you to read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice over a two-year period. You will typically read about three chapters a day if you follow this reading plan.
  • The “Additional Readings” column put you on a plan to read through the entire Bible in one year. You will read between four and five chapters a day if you follow this plan.

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Resting at the River’s Edge provides an opportunity to participate in reading through the Bible in a systematic way. Here’s more details about the plan and our schedules.

Track your reading along with us using the table below, the downloadable half-page PDF or the September/October Bookmark.

September offers an opportunity to start anew as routines change with the changing weather. If your reading declined during the summer months, jump back in and join us. We’d love to have you share what God is teaching you. E-mail me, leave a message on the Apprehending Grace Facebook page, or post a comment at the end of any blog.

Word of God, speak to us this month!
Sandy

Download all 2012 bookmarks here Download only the September/October 2012 bookmark here

Download a half-page PDF of the September Reading Plan here

Here’s the September reading plan:

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46“When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to his own land, far away or near; 47and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their conquerors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; 48and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; 49then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. 50And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their conquerors to show them mercy; 51for they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, out of that iron-smelting furnace.
1 Kings 8:46-51

This comes near the end of Solomon’s prayer during the dedication of the temple he built for the Lord. What struck me was Solomon’s prayer for the Israelites when they are taken captive. “Wow!” I thought. “He is praying into the Babylonian captivity almost 400 years before it happened.” OK. I confess. I didn’t really think that. I had to look up the number of years. But I was pretty sure it was a long time. And my thought was still “Wow!” Do you get what’s happening? Solomon is praying for the Israelites who will live almost 400 years in the future! (His future, of course.)

I am continually challenged that my prayer life is nothing compared to the prayers in the Bible. First, the things I pray for on a regular basis don’t begin to compare to the things the Apostle Paul prayed for. Well, they’re beginning to compare, but I’m in kindergarten (maybe first grade) when it comes to praying Paul’s prayers.

Then along comes Solomon. (Yes, we’re taking these out of order. Solomon really did come before Paul. It’s just that Paul’s prayers had more impact on me before Solomon’s.) Solomon doesn’t limit his prayers to the people standing before him during the temple dedication, or even to their children. He prays into the future, asking for God to forgive generations to come when they repent and turn to Him “with all their heart and soul.” Because I’ve read the rest of the book, I know that God answered that prayer. When the Israelites turned to God from Babylon, He caused their conquerors to show them mercy.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have children that I don’t think about (and pray for) generations to come. Phil and I chose not to have children – parenthood was never anything either of us ever looked forward to or dreamed about. Now, thirty years after the decisions to remain childless were made and well “beyond the manner of women” (as they say), perhaps the only thing I miss about not having children is praying over them and over their future – of placing my hands on their heads and speaking words of Life into their spirit as I bless them in the name of our gracious and precious Savior. I suspect, though, that even if I did have kids, my prayers wouldn’t extend to their children’s children’s children, much less six or seven generations into the future. When I pray for my community or our country, I pray for God to move now, not four hundred years from now.

We have such power to influence the course of history with our prayer life and few of us take advantage of that awesome opportunity. I have absolutely no doubt that God answers prayers in the immediate. I have absolutely no doubt that God answers prayers in the not-quite-immediate. He’s done that for me many, many, many times. Wouldn’t an eternal God also answer our prayers for generations to come? The evidence of Scripture is that He does.

Back to the issue of not having children – without children, it’s easy for me to wonder what my “legacy” will be. There will be no Sandy DNA impacting the world after I die. But there can be much Sandy Spiritual DNA impacting the world for many generations to come. And that’s something I can get pretty excited about. Especially since it doesn’t require changing dirty diapers for a couple of years and reminding someone to brush their teeth and wash their hands three times a day for a couple of decades.

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46“When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to his own land, far away or near; 47and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their conquerors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; 48and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; 49then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. 50And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their conquerors to show them mercy; 51for they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, out of that iron-smelting furnace.
1 Kings 8:46-51

This comes near the end of Solomon’s prayer during the dedication of the temple he built for the Lord. What struck me was Solomon’s prayer for the Israelites when they are taken captive. “Wow!” I thought. “He is praying into the Babylonian captivity almost 400 years before it happened.” OK. I confess. I didn’t really think that. I had to look up the number of years. But I was pretty sure it was a long time. And my thought was still “Wow!” Do you get what’s happening? Solomon is praying for the Israelites who will live almost 400 years in the future! (His future, of course.)

I am continually challenged that my prayer life is nothing compared to the prayers in the Bible. First, the things I pray for on a regular basis don’t begin to compare to the things the Apostle Paul prayed for. Well, they’re beginning to compare, but I’m in kindergarten (maybe first grade) when it comes to praying Paul’s prayers.

Then along comes Solomon. (Yes, we’re taking these out of order. Solomon really did come before Paul. It’s just that Paul’s prayers had more impact on me before Solomon’s.) Solomon doesn’t limit his prayers to the people standing before him during the temple dedication, or even to their children. He prays into the future, asking for God to forgive generations to come when they repent and turn to Him “with all their heart and soul.” Because I’ve read the rest of the book, I know that God answered that prayer. When the Israelites turned to God from Babylon, He caused their conquerors to show them mercy.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have children that I don’t think about (and pray for) generations to come. Phil and I chose not to have children – parenthood was never anything either of us ever looked forward to or dreamed about. Now, thirty years after the decisions to remain childless were made and well “beyond the manner of women” (as they say), perhaps the only thing I miss about not having children is praying over them and over their future – of placing my hands on their heads and speaking words of Life into their spirits as I bless them in the name of our gracious and precious Savior. I suspect, though, that even if I did have kids, my prayers wouldn’t extend to their children’s children’s children, much less six or seven generations into the future. When I pray for my community or our country, I pray for God to move now, not four hundred years from now.

We have such power to influence the course of history with our prayers and few of us take advantage of that awesome opportunity. I have absolutely no doubt that God answers prayers in the immediate. I have absolutely no doubt that God answers prayers in the not-quite-immediate. He’s done that for me many, many times. Wouldn’t an eternal God also answer our prayers for generations to come? The evidence of Scripture is that He does.

Back to the issue of not having children – without children, it’s easy for me to wonder what my “legacy” will be. There will be no Sandy DNA impacting the world after I die. But there can be much Sandy “spiritual” DNA impacting the world for many generations to come if I live well for Him now. And that’s something I can get pretty excited about. Especially since it doesn’t require changing dirty diapers for a couple of years and reminding someone to brush their teeth and wash their hands three times a day for a couple of decades. 🙂

May I encourage you to become forward thinking in your prayers – don’t just pray for the things happening now, but pray for those who will live several generations from now, should the Lord tarry. God, who lives outside of time, hears those prayers and responds. He did it for the Israelites and He will do it in our time.

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The History of a Nation and
Guidance for the Newly Formed Churches

Kings, Kings and More Kings
We will spend the bulk of our Old Testament reading First and Second Kings. Don’t lose sight of the message in the succession of kings and their exploits. The two overriding messages in the books of Kings are:

  • God is faithful and His people (i.e., us and our forefathers) continually turn away from Him. In the book of Kings, we see his judgement ultimately play out in the exile of the Israelites to Babylon.
  • Nations follow their leaders. We will see again and again that the spiritual climate of the Israelites very much followed that of their leader.

We’ll follow up our reading in First and Second Kings with the book of Ruth – a book that is all about courage, faithfulness and redemption. Many see it as a love story, but it is so much more than romance. It is the courage of a young woman, the faithfulness of God and the redemption of God’s people. That makes it a great book to cleanse our palates after reading Kings.

Forming a New Nation of Believers
As we read the books of Kings, we’ll also read what is commonly referred to as the “Pastoral Epistles” – the last writings of Paul, which are letters to Timothy and Titus. These letters provide instruction and guidance about caring for and protecting the newly born churches. The letters focus on church life, as well as leadership qualifications and responsibilities. The recurring themes in these books is keeping true to sound doctrine and living a life of godliness.

While it may seem that we are reading these books out of order (we’ll read 1 Timothy, then Titus, then 2 Timothy), this is the order in which they were written. 2 Timothy is widely believed to have been written shortly before Paul’s execution in AD 66-67. As you read this last letter of Paul’s keep in mind what he penned in chapter 4:

6As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. 7I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return.

There was a time when I didn’t much like the Apostle Paul. Now, I want to be like him when I grow up. How about you?

Blessings as you read this month. May God speak to your heart and spirit.

The recommended reading schedule is below.

To download a PDF of September’s recommended reading plan, click here.

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So Many Books, So Little Time

Well, it’s many books, but it’s not really much time. We’ll finish six books and start two others in August, but we’ll do it at the same pace as we’ve been travelling throughout the year – three chapters each day, Monday through Friday.

I’ve had a number of conversations about reading through the Bible recently. It seems that many people have the misconception that they just can’t do it. “I’m not much of a reader,” is what I’ve been hearing.

The good news is that:

(1)  You don’t have to be much of a reader to read through the New Testament in a year. All it takes is reading one chapter each day, five days a week. Even if you are a slow reader, you can probably do that in less than ten minutes. Increase that time to thirty or forty minutes each weekday and you can follow our Resting at the River’s Edge schedule. Over a two year period, you’ll read through the entire Old Testament once and the New Testament twice.

(2)  There are many modern language translations available. You can check out different translations online. Read from several different versions. If you find one you like, head on over to ChristianBook.com and pick it up.

(3)  It’s the inspired Word of God. I confess – sometimes it doesn’t feel like it! But when it does, it’s magical! (That would be magical in the sense of “wow!” and “cool” and “how does God do that?”, not magical in the sense of sorcery of course).

Reading through the whole New Testament and/or the whole Bible pulls the story of God’s plan together in a way that isn’t grasped by reading less methodically. So even if you haven’t been reading along with us yet, I invite you to join us in August.

In August we’ll finish 1 & 2 Samuel – the story of David’s life. God called David a man after His own heart – that seems like reason enough to study his life. In the New Testament we’ll read Collossians, Philemon, and Hebrews. In the book of Hebrews we’ll read about how Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all that is taught in the Old Testament – He is our sacrificial lamb; His blood was poured out for the forgiveness of sins; He is our great high priest. Mr. T used to say “I love it when a good plan comes together.” Hebrews pulls God’s plan together and spells it out for those of us who didn’t catch it on our own!

May God whisper in your ear as you read with us this month!

The recommended reading schedule is below.

To download a PDF of August’s recommended reading plan, click here.

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If you’re Resting at the River’s Edge with us, about a month ago you read 1 Kings 22 and this week you read 2 Chronicles 18. The passages mirror one another. I was struck by what happened when reading 1 Kings but didn’t blog about it. Reading 2 Chronicles 18 this week, I’m compelled to put just a few thought in writing.

The event takes place when the Israelites were divided into two countries, Judah and Israel. King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to King Ahab of Israel and suggested that together they fight against King Aram, to retake Ramoth Gilead, land that had formerly belonged to Israel.

I know – lots of strange names. Don’t get bogged down in them. They key figure in our story is the king of Israel, Ahab.

The back story is that King Ahab was an evil king. 1 Kings 21 says this about him:

25(There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife. 26He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel.)
1 Kings 21:25-26

God determined to punish Ahab and orchestrated his death, first by enticing him to go to war (1 Kings 22:19-25). The Prophet Micaiah prophecied Ahab’s death in the war, so Ahab took precautions to ensure his safety. He convinced King Jehoshaphat wore his royal robes while Ahab disguised himself when they went into battle. (Why Jehoshaphat would agree to this is beyond me, but he did.) Let’s let Scripture tell the story from here:

31Now the king of Aram had ordered his thirty-two chariot commanders, “Do not fight with anyone, small or great, except the king of Israel [Ahab].” 32When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, “Surely this is the king of Israel.” So they turned to attack him, but when Jehoshaphat cried out, 33the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel and stopped pursuing him.

34But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armor…. 35.…The blood from his wound ran onto the floor of the chariot, and that evening he died.
1 Kings 22:31-35

“But someone drew his bow at random.” Friends, no matter what precautions we take, no matter how well we plan, no matter how strong we make our defenses, if our plans are not God’s plans, someone may draw their bow at random and hit them, bringing sure death to them. There is no randomness in God. He uses even the mistakes of others, the blind shot in the dark, the unprovoked comment, to change the course of history to accomplish His will.

Ahab had a plan – disguise himself so that he would be safe when he went into battle. God had a plan – that he would punish Ahab for his wickedness. Guess whose plans became reality?

With this being the case, it would seem to me that the most important step in any planning is to first identify God’s plan through dedicated prayer. Once we’ve identified His plan, our best approach is to align with it. Yes, this is motherhood. But I am struck by how “unrandom” the random arrow was.

Lord, may I align myself with Your plans so that the my actions might be among the random acts that bring about your will.

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Congratulations! If you are reading along with us using the Resting at the River’s Edge schedules, you will have read half way through the entire Bible by July 4th! That’s quite an accomplishment and you are to be commended.Perhaps, though, you haven’t kept up with our reading schedule but continue to progress in them. Maybe you’re a few days, a few weeks or a few months behind the schedule. That’s OK. You are also to be congratuled as you have continued on a task that probably seemed overwhelming at first. Perhaps you’re on the “Read through the Bible in Two Years” plan. And that’s just fine!We’re not in a competition with one another. Rather, we’re all seeking to grow in our knowledge of the Lord and in His grace. I hope in the process of reading through the Bible at whatever pace you’re keeping, that your confidence has risen and you fully expect to be able to read through the whole Bible on your schedule.

More importantly, I hope that you have learned more about the God we love and serve as you’ve read a large portion of the Old Testament and that you have become more convinced than ever about how much He loves you as you’ve read portions of the Old Testament in conjuction with portions of the New Testament. He truly loves you! More than you can imagine!

Finally, I hope and pray that the Scripture you are reading is informing your life for Christ – in other words, that the Word of God that you read on the pages of your Bible are affecting how you live.

So I say again…Congratulations! Way to go & keep it up!

Oh — and enjoy this month’s readings!

To download a PDF of July’s reading schedule, click here.

April Reading

July Recommended Reading

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