What’s Your 700 Wives and 300 Concubines?

Is there something in your life that leads you astray?  Something that turns your heart away from the Lord?

For King Solomon that thing was women.  (If you’re a man reading this, this is where you can insert a joke or a smart comment…lol).

Solomon took over as King of Israel after his father, David, passed away. When he had taken over, God asked Solomon what He should give to him.  Solomon asked for one thing…wisdom.  A pretty smart choice for a king.  And God gave that to Solomon, as well as blessing him with many things.  But, Solomon fell in love with having a lot of nice things, as well as having a lot of wives.

In 1 Kings 11:1-13, we read about Solomon’s love of women.  As he grew older, he began acquiring more and more wives.  The Bible says he had 700 wives and 300 concubines (verse 3).  The bad thing about this, too, was that these women were not Israelite women.  They were from foreign countries…countries that God specifically told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 7:1-6 that they should destroy completely and not intermarry with because this would turn their hearts away from the Lord.

And guess what?

That’s exactly what happened with Solomon.

Verse 4 says, In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been.”  Solomon decided to start worshiping the gods of his wives and turned away from worshiping the One and only true God.

It’s easy for us to say how crazy Solomon was for doing this.  Didn’t he know better?  Who would have that many wives?  Why didn’t he listen to God?  Why didn’t he remember what the Lord had said?  We would never do something like that.

Yet we do this very same thing…every day.

We might not have 700 wives and 300 concubines, but we have things or people in our lives that turn our hearts away from the Lord.  To figure out what those things are, you need to spend time in prayer.  Ask God to reveal to you what those things or people are.  When God reveals those to you, first of all repent.  Ask God to forgive you for choosing to devote yourself to other things besides Him.  Then make a conscience effort to turn away from those things and fully commit your heart to following God.  Do your best to stay focused on the Lord.

Lent is coming soon (Ash Wednesday is February 14).  This is a good time to make a sacrifice and give up those things, or you can even choose to add something that can help keep you devoted to God.  If you want to start now you can do a fast.  You can read about my experience when I did this a couple of years ago: Lessons from a 21-Day Fast.

Whatever you do, remember to turn away from your “700 wives and 300 concubines”….those things which pull you away from the Lord.  Turn your heart to the Lord and focus on Him.  God loves you so much and He desires a close relationship with you.  He longs for you to seek Him daily and trust in Him.  Remember His faithfulness to you and do your best to remain faithful to Him.

Looking for ideas on what to sacrifice for Lent?  Check back soon for my list of ideas!

Join My New Weekly Newsletter

Do you dread Mondays?  Maybe you don’t look forward to starting another week of work!

Would you like a little encouragement to get your week started off on the right foot?  I am hoping I can help turn your Monday blues around!

I am so excited to share with you that I am beginning a new weekly newsletter that will give you encouragement for your life.  And I’m calling it….

Weekly Worship and Wisdom

 

 

 

 

 

Each Monday morning you will receive an email from me filled with worship & wisdom!  Each weekly email may be different, but could include things such as:

  • Worship Song for the week  (will include a link to a YouTube video)
  • Scripture Verse for the week
  • Insight into a Bible story or character
  • God Sighting (where I have seen God working in my life or someone else’s)
  • Book or Bible Study recommendations
  • Pinterest Inspiration (Pinterest article that has inspired me)
  • Recent blog posts that have been posted on my website
  • Or anything else that God has placed on my heart to share

If you would like to receive one email a week from me to help you keep your focus on God, then subscribe to my blog!  All you need to do is fill out your first name and email address in the blue subscription box (you can find that box at the end of this article or on the right hand side of my home page). **If you are already a subscriber to my blog, you don’t need to do anything.  You will automatically receive the weekly newsletter.

You will receive your first WWW newsletter on Monday, January 7th.  I hope you will join my newsletter email for some great weekly worship & wisdom!

5 Books to Read in 2018

I love to read.  If you look at my bookshelves you would be able to see that I love books!  2017 was a great year of reading.  I have read the following books and highly recommend you add them to your reading list for 2018!

Fervent:  A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer   (Priscilla Shirer)

If you need encouragement and a plan to help you have a better prayer life, this book is for you.  Priscilla lays out ten areas in our lives where the devil loves to attack.  She gives a strategy for our prayer life to knock the devil out.  Each chapter ends with a call to prayer and Scripture we can use as a prayer, too.  I also love the tear-out prayer cards in the back of the book where you can write down your prayer for each area and post it where you can pray it everyday.  This is an excellent book in helping you fight the devil through prayer.

Discerning the Voice of God:  How to Recognize When God is Speaking  (Priscilla Shirer)

Do you ever wonder if what you are hearing is the voice of God or if it’s just your own thoughts coming through loudly?  In this book, Priscilla takes us through three sections:  realize the way He speaks, recognize the sound of His voice, and remember what He wants to accomplish.  God speaks to everyone and this book will help you discern His voice. I think one of my favorite quotes from this book is, “You don’t need a seminary degree for this…For some reason we have been duped into thinking that God only speaks to certain people and only in ways that the “elite” saints can understand.”  (Shirer, 2007, p. 92).  God speaks to all of us and this book helps us in knowing the voice of God.

Love, Skip, Jump   (Shelene Bryan)

This is a book about the true story of Shelene Bryan and her quest to meet her Compassion International sponsored child.  Shelene is a Hollywood Producer who doubted whether her money was actually being used for helping her sponsored child.  What she finds through this quest is a passion to serve more and do more.  This passion leads to her developing a non-profit organization called Skip1.  This a wonderful story about being the hands and feet of Jesus.

Love Does:  Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World  (Bob Goff)

Bob Goff is a whimsical man who lives life to the fullest.  If you’ve ever heard him speak, then you know this to be true.  In his book, Love Does, he writes his stories of love in action.  Each story is inspiring and encouraging.  I smiled and laughed all the way through this book, and I believe you will, too.

Goliath Must Fall:  Winning the Battle Against Your Giants  (Louie Giglio)

This is Louie’s latest book and it’s phenomenal.  He shares personal stories and Biblical wisdom (focusing on the story of David and Goliath) in helping you knock down the giants in your life.  Some of the giants he discusses are fear, rejection, comfort, anger, and addiction.  He helps us realize how battles are won:  “It is not by the strength of man that battles are won.  It is by the work of God.”  (Giglio, 2017, p. 91).  This book is a must read if you are struggling with any Goliath in your life.

5 Books to Read in 2018

If you would like to read other books I recommend, check out these posts from past years:

Favorite Books of 2016

My Favorite Books of 2015

Adventures: An Advent Devotional for Women

This time of year can get busy and super crazy with all the Christmas gifts to buy, parties to attend, cookies to bake, kids Christmas performances to attend, and so much more.  Sometimes we can lose focus of the main reason we celebrate Christmas.  That’s why I have written an Advent devotion just for you!

Adventures is a great devotional for you to use this Advent season (and it’s free)! This devotion is geared toward women (but men can read it too).  There is a devotion for each day in Advent (Dec. 3-24, 2017). Each day contains a Scripture reading, devotion, worship song, and an Adventure (something you will do each day, some are fun and some are more reflective).  The worship songs are linked to a YouTube video.  Just click on the name of the song (which is in red) and it will take you to the song.  Also, the Adventure for some days is linked to a website.  Just click the red words for those days and it will take you to the site you need.

To download your free copy of this e-book, all you need to do is subscribe to my blog. You’ll see the subscription box at the bottom of this blog post. Just fill in your email address and you’ll be emailed the devotional link to where you can download your own copy!  (Or you can look on the right hand side of this page and fill out the form.  If you are on a phone or tablet, scroll all the way to the bottom where the Adventures book cover image is located to see the subscription box).

I would love for you to read Adventures during Advent as you wait and prepare for the coming of our Savior.  I hope this new resource I have written will help you keep your focus on Jesus this Advent season.

5 Things to Do in Uncertain Times

Uncertainty is no fun.

In fact, it’s down right miserable.

I don’t like not knowing what is going to happen.  I like for things to be certain…things I know for sure will happen or not happen.

We have all been through something in our lives that we have no idea how it will turn out.  Maybe that’s waiting on test results that will tell you what they found on the MRI.  Maybe that’s going through treatments to get rid of cancer, but not fully knowing if the treatment will work.  Maybe that’s waiting to find that one special man to marry.  Maybe that’s waiting to see if those fertility treatments will work and you will be pregnant. Maybe that’s waiting on a job you really hope to get.  Maybe that’s hoping that the job you just took will work out.  Maybe that’s hoping your children will make wise choices.  Maybe that’s hoping that your children will grow up to be fine young people who continue to faithfully follow the Lord.

All of these things are uncertain.  We have no idea how things will turn out until it happens or it doesn’t happen.  And the agony in the uncertainty comes from the waiting.  And well, I’m just not a good waiter.  Worry and anxiety consume my body to the point that I can’t take it anymore.  I just need to know, Lord!  Please tell me for certain what is going to happen!

But as we all know, we don’t always get the answers we want in the time we want.  We have to wait through the uncertainty.

I want to share with you five things that have really helped me in those uncertain times…in those times when all I seem to be doing is waiting and worrying:

1.  Pray

Some of you may be saying, “Yes, this is a given.  Of course I’m going to pray.”  As a Christian it’s what we do.  But when we go through uncertain times, sometimes we stop praying.  We let our worry and anxious thoughts take over so that all we do is fear.  But, this is the time when we need to be praying.  We don’t need to allow Satan to keep us from going to the Lord in prayer.  We should fight off that worry and get down on our knees daily…praying with all we’ve got. God hears our prayers.

2.  Listen 

Prayer time should also include silence.  We need to listen.  That’s when we will feel God speaking to us.  I was reminded of the importance of this while reading in the book of Joshua this week.  I felt that Joshua 3:9 was God speaking directly to me, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.”  I spend a lot of time talking to the Lord, but little time listening.  God was telling me to come here and listen to Him.  It’s in the silence that we will feel God and hear and feel His peace during this uncertain time.

3.  Read the Word

Whenever I am in the middle of uncertainty, I break out my Bible and read directly from the Word of God.  I need to hear God speaking to me through His Word.  Here are some verses I find very helpful when I feel worry start to creep it’s way into my thoughts:  12 Scriptures for Uncertain Times

4.  Worship

Just this summer I went through an uncertain time.  I had to go back for a 6-month mammogram to see if the place that had raised suspicion last fall was still there or had grown. I dreaded the appointment for weeks.  And I all I seemed to do was think the worst thing possible.  It was so hard to get those thoughts out of my head.  But I had to make a choice:  was I going to let those thoughts take over or was I going to praise God through the uncertainty?  I chose to worship the Lord.  I found peace in listening to my favorite Christian praise songs.  As I sang, I allowed God to wash His peace over my body.  And it was amazing to see how He transformed my weary, worrying soul into a peaceful, calm soul.

5.  Remember all the certain things about the Lord

During those uncertain times, we tend to forget all the CERTAIN things we know about the Lord…the things that God has promised to us.  Some things that come to mind for me are these promises:  He will never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:8), He will bless us (Deuteronomy 28:1-2), He will give us rest (Matthew 11:28-30), He will work all things for good (Romans 8:28), He calls us by name (Isaiah 43:1), He guides us (Proverbs 3:5-6), He comforts us (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), He gives us peace (John 14:27), and so many more.  Go ahead…get out your notebook and start listing all the things you know for certain about the Lord.  Remembering these things can bring us peace when all we can do is think about the uncertainty.

I have walked through uncertain times and it is terrifying.  But, I have found peace through it all only because of God. My prayer is that you will give God all your worries, anxieties, and fears.  Trust in Him because He cares for you.

How To Find Your Birth Verse

Do you know what your birth verse is?

I had never heard of such a thing until I saw an article about it online that led me to a website: Find Your Birth Verse

All you have to do is enter in your birth month and day and it brings up a verse from Scripture that corresponds with the day you were born.

August 1st is my birthday and my birth verse is from Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

I love the message from this book that Paul shares with us.  For those of us who believe in Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord, there is no punishment.  We are not condemned.  We are free and forgiven.  What a beautiful message this is!

While I absolutely love that verse, I decided to search every book of the Bible and look up the eighth chapter and first verse.  I wanted to see if I could find a verse that really resonated with my life and spoke to me.

And I found it….

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.    Joshua 8:1

I have struggled with fear for a majority of my life.  Even though I was raised in a Christian home and have loved and known Jesus my whole life, I don’t remember ever truly praying through my fears and quoting Scripture to help me through it until just a few years ago.  It has been a comfort to me to be able to find peace through fear in the pages of His Word.  This verse from Joshua is spot on for my life and a great reminder that I am not to be afraid.

I decided to take both of these verses, turn them into a printable image, and place where I can be reminded of them each and every day.

Joshua 8:1

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your birth verse?  Please leave a comment below and share your verse and what it means to you.

4 Ways to Give God the Glory and Not Yourself

gloryHave you ever been tempted to give yourself the glory for something you did, instead of giving God the glory?

Let’s play out a scenario here… You’ve just finished doing something awesome for the Lord.  Maybe it was lead a Bible study at your church, plan an outreach event for your church that brought in many people, or even led a group of people on a mission trip.  Whatever it was, it was a HUGE success!  Everyone is saying what a great job you did.  The pastor makes you stand up in front of everyone while they applaud you. “Great job!  You are awesome!”  Everyone rises to their feet and gives praise to you for a job well done.  And you love it!  You love the attention. You love that people are giving you credit for all the hard work you did.  You deserve it for sure. Doing this thing that God called you to do wasn’t easy.  Thankfully others recognize that and are giving you praise!

What is wrong with this picture?  Some of you may say nothing.  It’s okay to be recognized.  And you are right.  There is nothing wrong with being recognized.  The problem comes when we are taking the credit for what God has done.  The problem is when our hearts are in it for the wrong reasons.  The problem is when we do what God calls us to do for selfish reasons and not for what God wants us to do. The problem is when we boast of what we have done.  It is NOT right to take credit when all the glory needs to go to God.  God gave you some great gifts in order to do the thing which He called you to do.  God is using those gifts for His purposes and not yours.  You are God’s vessel.  You are being used by God to to share His name with others.  God is using you, yes, but for what He wants and NOT for what you want.

So how do I enjoy the praise, thanks, and pats on the back, without losing sight of God?

Here are four ways you can make sure you give God the glory and not yourself:

1.  Pray   Before you do anything, pray A LOT!  Ask for God’s will to be revealed to you. Ask God to give you wisdom in all you do for Him.

2.  Study Scripture   Dive into the Bible and fill yourself with His words.  Let them flow through you.   It will be helpful to know His Word and it will keep you from washing up on the shore, having forgotten all about God in what you are doing.  A great Scripture to memorize to help you with this is Psalm 115:1:

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and your faithfulness.

3.  Praise God At All Times    In everything you do, thank God.  Thank God for the good things and the bad things in your life.  Everything that happens, God can use to do His will.  Praise God at all times!

4.  Say “Go God!”  A friend of mine says this all the time, especially when she is thanked for doing something.  She says it helps keep her focused on God and what He does through her.  It keeps the emphasis off her and puts it on God, which is exactly where it should be. So the next time you are thanked for something you did for the Lord, just say “Go God!”

God has each of us where we are for a reason.  He has us there to serve HIS purpose.  He wants to do great things through us. However, we must be willing to step out of that spotlight and make sure God shines brightly and not us.  When we learn to do that, God will bless us so much more.

All praise and glory goes to our Lord!