Monthly Archives: December 2012

Send Judah First

My husband came in and said he was reading what 2 Chronicles 20.  He said he wonders what Jehoshaphat was thinking….So I started reading I just took some mental notes here they are in blue:

It happened after this that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the Sea, from Syria; and they are in Hazazon Tamar” (which is En Gedi). And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

I’ve never been in war, but the thought of it is definitely scary, Jehoshaphat was scared, Jehoshaphat was normal.  It says he “set” himself to seek the Lord. Another translation I read said he “resolved” to inquire of the Lord.  This tells me that it was not something he automatically did, but something that he made up in his mind to do. Despite his feelings of fear he sought the Lord and led his people to do the same.  

Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court,and said: “O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?

Jehoshaphat starts his prayer out reminding God of who he is.  There’s a lot to be said about being God’s hype man.  Asking God rhetorical questions that He and we clearly know the answers to does two things, maybe more, but here are two:  It let’s God know that we were paying attention to who His Word says He is and it reminds us that He really is who He says He is.  It’s not like you say, “Are you not the One who created the heavens and the Earth”  and He’s like Nah, that wasn’t me…it was my cousin.

And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.

Tells God how his people have honored Him and how much they trust Him, are willing to stand and rely on Him.

10 And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir—whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them— 11 here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit. 12 O our God, will You not judge them?

Tells God the problem:  the people that you told Israel (your people) not to kill, they obeyed you. Yet those same people who were spared, are here to smash us. Does that make any sense God?  Is it fair?  

For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”

This is the truth.  Jehosphat said this is all I have, I’ve made up in my mind to seek you when I was scared, I’ve glorified you, I’ve been obedient, I’ve presented the facts.  There is nothing else I can to.  The only thing I can do it keep my eyes on you and look to you for the answer.

13 Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the Lord.

This seems like one of those moments of awkward silence.

14 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. 15 And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel.17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”

I’m so sorry, sometimes I hesitate to share my thoughts….but my first thought in this situation is who is this guy?  I mean I know who’s son he is and I’m glad he’s a Levite but, how do I know for sure that God is speaking through him right at this moment?  Especially, if I’m King, I have this entire nation (including women and little children) depending on my every move.  This can not be just some random encouragement, people are coming to kill us…hold on LOTS of people are coming to kill us or at the very least make us their slaves.  Not only do I have to cast aside my fear and trust God, but now I have to trust God through the mouth of someone else.  This is getting complicated.

18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. 19 Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high.

Jehoshaphat believed.

20 So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord,For His mercy endures forever.”

Almost the best part: Jehoshaphat proclaimed his faith in God, he also displayed great leadership and spoke to the people in the crowd who were probably a little skeptical like me.  He said Believe in the Lord AND believe His prophets.  He spent sometime encouraging his people then went into action.  Jehoshaphat never had a plan B, he didn’t tell the singers or the praisers to offer up praises and if it started to get too rough, run and hide behind the army.  As far as I know they were to stay  in front  and praise God even if it meant death.

22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. 23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.

24 So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.

25 When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away their spoil, they found among them an abundance of valuables on the dead bodies, and precious jewelry, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away; and they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much. 26 And on the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berachah, for there they blessed the Lord; therefore the name of that place was called The Valley of Berachah until this day. 27 Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat in front of them, to go back to Jerusalem with joy, for the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies. 28 So they came to Jerusalem, with stringed instruments and harps and trumpets, to the house of the Lord. 29 And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 Then the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.

Obviously the best part of the story:  God came through on behalf of His people.  Notice God never revealed His plan to his people, He pretty much just said, don’t be afraid, position yourselves, but you won’t fight, I’m with you.  Jehoshaphat had to interpret what God wanted him to do by faith.  The people were ready for battle, no one was at home sitting on the couch waiting for God to deliver them.  Even though they didn’t know what to do, they recognized that they were in war and took their active positions.  Even if “active” meant just standing still.

Praise was offered up first because they understood that  even though they were facing the unknown, God was worthy of their praise and able to deliver them from whatever lied ahead.

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Put the Mop Down

Last night my daughter took a shower and accidentally left the water running in the shower.  It was at least an hour before she returned to her room and noticed that the drain to the tub was plugged and the water from the running shower had created flood like conditions on her bathroom floor.

She came upstairs all hysterical, she was sobbing, apologizing and fearing my wrath.  I immediately let her know that I was not upset and went to assess the damage.

The truth is I was not upset, I was tired it was nearly 10:00 p.m., I had been up since 4:30 a.m. and I was just finishing up what I thought was my last chore for the evening.

When I got downstairs, it was clear that I was not going to bed any time soon.  `Her bathroom floor would have made a nice poolside resort for a family of hamsters.  Water was everywhere, deep puddles had gathered in the spaces where the floor was uneven.  In situations like this, I’ve learned that it’s always best to focus on the positives.  So I thanked God that my daughter’s bathroom was in the basement.  Next, I thought,  at least the floor will already be mopped, one less chore I have to do tomorrow.

We got to work.  We used all the rags, and towels in the house.  When those ran out, we started grabbing sheets.  As we were sopping up the water I kept thinking,  there’s got to be a better way to do this.  A wet/dry vac would have been my best friend at the moment but we didn’t have one.  It was too late to call my neighbors and ask around so I went to the garage and grabbed the mop* and we continued soaking and wringing, soaking and wringing.  We finally finished around 11:30 p.m., my girls and I spend an hour and a half on our hands and knees.  I felt like Cinderella, the only difference was that I was actually looking forward to midnight.

Everyone went to sleep and all was well.

My husband is still out of town, this morning he called and I told him what happened the night before.  He asked, ” Why didn’t use just use the Carpet Shampooer we have to extract all the water?”  Oh. My. Gosh.  Why didn’t I think of that?  That would have saved so much time and backache!!!

You see that little * above next to “grabbed the mop” ? Well the Carpet Shampooer was right next to the mop.  Literally.  I unknowingly reached for the harder solution when I went to the garage.

God speaks to everyone differently, for some He uses burning bushes, lol.  But for me more often than not, He uses my everyday occurrences.

I was a little bothered by the fact that I spent so much time getting the water up, when there was a simpler solution   Then something stood out in the conversation that I had with my husband.  He said you never use the shampooer, so that’s probably why you didn’t think about it.  It’s true I never use the shampooer my husband does and the truth be told if he was here, I probably wouldn’t have been getting all the water up either.  🙂

God ministered to me.  He said the same is true in life. He has given us access to all the tools that we need to deal with the “mini-crises”, and various trials that occur in our lives.  However, if we are not familiar with the tools that he gives us…things will be a lot harder than they need to be.  So many times the answers to our problems are right within our grasp.

Be encouraged today, spend time familiarizing yourself with all the wonderful “tools” God has blessed us with to live this life.  His Word contains so many solutions from healing, to finding joy and peace, to restoring relationships…you name it it’s in there.  The world may offer solutions and they may get the job done, but God’s way is far superior.

Reach for the right tool. Why settle for a mop and towels, when you can suck it all up with a Shampooer?

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.      2 Peter 1:2-4

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Not Forsaking the Assembly

I feel like it’s been forever since my last post.  It also feels like forever since I’ve had a moment to myself.

November came and went, the following is an abbreviated version of last months happenings: First came my daughter’s annual costume (birthday) party, then prepping my hubbie for his 2 1/2 week trip out of the country,  next it was Thanksgiving, then remotely planning my brothers 30th birthday party and today I said goodbye to my last house guest.

Towards the end of this week, I began clamoring for my “closet” time.  I felt like I should have spent more time alone with God,  somehow I wanted to feel guilty for all the time I spent  with others, hosting, laughing, cleaning, dancing, playing games, planning, cooking, staying up late and sleeping in.  Although I didn’t feel wrong in my heart, my mind wanted to hold me captive.

This past week was the most fun, my girlfriend that I grew up with came to stay with me.  She usually comes for a week when my husband is out of town and it’s such a blessing because we have such a great time and it takes my mind off the fact that my best friend is 5,048.2 miles away.

As soon as she left, I spend a few moments alone in the quiet wondering if I had done enough.  I thought, Gosh we had so much fun but was God able to use me?  Usually when she comes we have these 4 hour deep, tear jerking,  life changing conversations and we didn’t have that this time.  Had I failed my friend?  Especially at a time where she’s going through a difficult transition?  Should I have skipped the nightly dance routines in my living room or the $57 sushi “snack” for two that we mistakenly ordered from a menu with no prices?

Oh my goodness, I’ve got to call her now and say something profound!

In the midst of my thoughts I caught a vision of God chuckling at me, but I paid no attention to it and continued to ask Him to give me the right words to say to my friend.  I spent some time reading the Word and then some time in prayer.  Afterwards, I called my friend as she was driving back home.  My time alone with the Lord gave me nothing “profound” to say, so when she answered the phone I began with an apology.  “Hey sis, I’m sorry that I didn’t have much to share with you this week, I asked the Lord to give me the words of encouragement and wisdom to share with you on your journey home, but I got nothing.”

The opposite side of the phone produced a hearty chuckle, one that I’m sure was my friend and God in unison.  She said what are you talking about? I was so encouraged by “this” and “that”…….she began reflecting on the small things I said in passing, the ways that I served her, the joy that she experienced through our silly adventures.  God had given her so much through us just spending time together.  My heart rejoiced.  We talked a little longer and I shared what her presence had done for me as well.

We hung up the phone,  THEN God decides he wants to speak to me (classic God timing)

He said, relationships are very important.  You must never forget that you have an amazing relationship with Me, so you can have an amazing relationship with others.  

He was absolutely right.  Ummm, I guess I didn’t need to say that.  But He showed me, to everything there is a season.  Sometimes we may be have tons of uninterrupted alone time with the Lord and other times, it is time for us to take what we’ve gained from our private time with Him and let it ooze out onto everyone else.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,  not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Be Blessed.

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