Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

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Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

May 2009 be the best yet!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Blessing from God through Jan Silvious

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The prison ministry Kara @ Mommy Dot Com and I volunteer for had a very special Christmas dinner for the ladies and volunteers. Jan Silvious came and spoke to the group. She had a very special blessing for each one attending as well. Read Kara's account here.

I did RSVP to attend but that day I woke up with a horrible migraine. It was the kind of migraine where I could not even move without my head throbbing terribly. I was so sad that I had to cancel being there. Actually my feelings were hurt about it. I could not understand why God would not take that illness away. If He did not there was no way that I could be there. The door was closed. I was sad but I determined to at least pray for the event and people.

After the event Kara called and told me that it was such a great night. So many women were so blessed. She told me that she had a prayer blessing to read for me. I had one written for me too because I was suppose to be there. It was amazing to me what it read:
"I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. The one who chose you can be trusted, and He will do this!" Based on 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

That was such a sweet confirmation that God has my health in His hands. He will kept me healthy in His ways. He chose me and can be trusted in all things. He will do it. I just have to rest in Him. He is teaching me to be content in all circumstances. That blessing meant much more in my current circumstances then it would have if I would have been present.

I knew this was God just showing me His love and reminding me to trust Him as He teaches me the things I need to know. Jan does not know me well enough to know that I constantly battle with my health. She didn't know these personal things. God does though and He used her in a special way to communicate that love to me.

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Christmas Baking Attempts

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First I went to Walmart and bought these two boxes. They were two for five dollars. But I did have to endure Walmart!




Then I opened them and poured them out on the baking sheet.

I even recruited help.

They tasted good!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mary - Devotional

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I am over at Radical Revolution today. You can read the devotional here.

Merry Christmas!

Much love,
Angela

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Great Gift

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"As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."

One of my best friends went to Israel this past summer. She prayed and looked but could not find the perfect gift for me. There were many junky souvenirs sure but she wanted the right gift.

So then she had the thought of the widow's mite which is listed above. She brought this shekal back from Israel to remind me to always give all I have to Jesus. This is the most wonderful and thoughtful gift. And get this she was sure to tell me that this was not my birthday or Christmas present either. What a friend!

She knows me and knows what is important to me. She knows how much I love Israel. She is mindful of those things. Do you know God knows us even better than that? He is the giver of all good gifts and the perfect and most complete gift was given in Jesus--that is why we celebrate Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My New Look!

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Welcome! If you came to Refresh My Soul Blog and thought you were at the wrong place you are mistaken! This is my new look. I hope you like it. I have some new fun surprises as well. I will unveil them as they come along. I am blessed to have a wonderful technical hubbie who can put this stuff together.

We just had an unexpected but wonderful visit with some good friends from Ohio. They were headed to Florida and spent some time with us on the way down. They may stop again on their way back and maybe I can get a picture to post. Then maybe tell you more about them.

We are anticipating a visit with my aunt and uncle and my cousin and his wife this week as well. I cannot wait because I have not seen my cousin and his wife for a long time! They flew in from Nevada.

Let me know what you think about the new look and what you are up too.

Monday, December 15, 2008

See You in the Funny Papers-A Book Review

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I am late posting this book review. It was suppose to be posted last week and as you all know I am suffering from some nasty stuff. Anyway, to be quite honest, as the Bible states, laughter is good medicine. I have taken this book along with me to some doctors visits and you know waiting in that waiting room can take some time. So, it was a quite peaceful time for me to get my dose of medicine through getting my laugh on!

Pam is hilarious! She writes in such a friendly and real style that we all can relate to. Using everyday life situations Pam finds the funny out of them while expressing spiritual truths she learns. I LOVED it. Her style reminded me so much of Chondra Pierce. Hilarious. I highly recommend it.

Now, I have to be totally honest, I did not make my way through the entire book yet. This is the kind of book that you hold onto and just take doses at a time like medicine. It is great to have for that. To check out the book on Amazon go here.

To visit Pam's site go here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hanging with God in the MRI Machine

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Please don't think I take the phrase "hanging with God" lightly. It does seem that too often these days we treat God in all His holiness and splendor as casual. There is a perfect balance in knowing the fear of the Lord in our relationship with Him. I am fully in awe of Him and aware of His greatness. He is just too much to grasp. His goodness is so amazing to me. Yet in all of Him He desires my friendship. Isn't that astounding? He wants yours too, dear one.

Back to the hanging part. I posted a bit back about having optic neuritis. Because of that and complicated migraines, I had to get another MRI. Strangely wearing a fake football helmet, lying on a hard table that is then inserted into a tight circular machine does not bother me much. Even in its constant noise and loud beats, it is a time of peace for me. I can lay there and be alone with God. It is those times in which I am thankful for.

It seems things get so fast paced, especially this time of year. The truth is this time of year especially we should be slowing down. Taking time to reflect on the greatness of our God. Time to remember how much He loved us to limit Himself to a fleshly body. Time to remember how He endured death on a cross because He loves us so. That poor baby we see in the manger knew He came to die. But His death beat our death. Three days later He arose. Then sending His Holy Spirit to always lead and guide us. Does that just amaze you or what?

I just wanted to encourage us to just take time to sit and hang out with God. Talk to Him and let Him speak back to you. What is on His mind? Do you take the time to just sit in His presence? I thought it was funny it took a forced MRI appointment to sink that thought into my head. So, let's make it a priority to start hanging out with God more voluntarily! :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Divorce Hurts Everyone

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No one ever thinks about explaining the act of divorce to their little children, that is until you are in the middle of it. My brother has been through this situation. He has a child who is the same age as my oldest daughter. They visit and play together about once a year.

Though they only get together once a year, Kaitlyn had to face the reality that not all things are permanent. She saw how marriages can be broken. She saw how her cousin had to go back and forth from living in one house to another. She saw the separation in her seven year old eyes. It has rocked her world more than I ever could know.

The problem now is that at any inclination of a disagreement between my husband and I, my sweet child talks to us about promising to stay together. She expresses not wanting to go back and forth to my house and daddy's house. We explain that nothing can separate us and that we will disagree and become upset with one another at times but that will not split us up. My heart breaks for the pain she feels about it. The worry she feels. She should not have to carry that weight.

I just had to make an entry about this because it has been on my heart and I have now seen the consequences in a place I never expected. I always thought divorce only effected the immediate families that were involved but now I see it effects so much more.

Monday, December 8, 2008

In The Spit Zone

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Now, I just have to tell you that over the years I have attended various churches and I have sat in various places. I most always love to be in the back where I am not easily seen by others. I just at times want to be invisible. I am not sure why except that perhaps it is part of that introverted personality that I possess. Another story for another day is the fact that God did not make me to be invisible, you either. He made us to shine brightly for His glory.

As our current church has started to grow, our music minister asked for volunteers to move on up closer to the front to make room for others. (I guess everyone wants to sit in the back!) So my husband being the great helper that God designed him to be readily accepted and moved us up closer. I willingly, but dragging my feet, followed but felt a bit self-conscious.

Over the years I have gotten use to our spot, especially since it has filled up all around us. People have better things to do then to look at me anyway. Why would I even be so self-absorbed to think that they would anyway?

But yesterday was simply a place I never wanted to sit. We were in the spit zone. I am not even sure what possessed my husband to pick out those seats because there were others around us. We were in the second row.

What I realized was it is a little spacey up there. It is a little closer to the altar. It had a better view of what was going on up front and I did not get spit on after all. I guess it was not that bad.

In the Christian walk, God will always make a way to move us out of those comfortable places. He will not let us remain comfortable for long. Being comfortable mostly leads to complacency if we are there too long. We are living organisms and were meant to move and change as God leads.

Talk a look at your life today, are you flowing with God the refreshing river of life or are you sitting in the back row watching the river go by?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Optic What?

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So, I have this condition now called optic neuritis. Essentially it means that both of my optic nerves, which are in the back of the eye, are inflamed. What does this mean? Unfortunately it means for me that I am seeing all kinds of strange spots in my visual field of sight. I am not sure how long it will last but it makes reading hard.

Now, knowing someone like me whose favorite thing to do is read, how do you cope? Talking about reading, I have been reading through a great book by the founder of the Voice of the Martyrs called, "Tortured for Christ." It is really good and addresses his story and much about the underground church around the world. It has driven me to pray harder for this group of our brothers and sisters.

It has also given me a new appreciation for even being able to read my Bible. Some of the false arrests that occurred happened with drugging and torture. In this hard time these people, our brothers and sisters in Christ, held tightly on to Christ. They endured unspeakable torture. They had no Bible to read from for encouragement. They just had Him. It reminded me that He is enough. Working eyes or not, at least I can hear the word anytime I want and for that I am thankful.

Please do not forget to pray for our brothers or sisters around the world who do not have the same privileges. Let us do all we can to help them. If you are interested in a free copy of this great book go here.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Split Pants by Chance?

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So this is a totally random post but I am just in the mood to start back up my consistency in blog world. Now everything I do does have spiritual significance so just bare with me.

I have a pair of pants that are so comfortable that I just love! They are Old Navy Cargo pants and I believe I got them the day after Thanksgiving a few years ago at a great price like around $10. Now nothing gets me more excited than a great deal. Their picture is above.

Well, unfortunately I got a rip on the back side of these near the top of the back pocket. I still wore them with a shirt that would cover it so no one would know. That was until yesterday!

I was on a play date at the mall. My precious child dropped something so I bent down in a strange way to get it and all I heard was, "RRRIIPPP." I thought oh know, the hole is now going to be noticeable. Thankfully I did have a longer shirt on than usual but when you are feeling a draft on a winter day in your pants then something is definitely wrong.

So, gracefully I tried to feel around for the damage on my backside not thinking it probably looked like I had a strange fascination with my backside. But to my horror I was correct in my thought. The hole was huge and not mendable.

I started praying about what to do and fast. My girlfriend with me said she could not see the hole but if my shirt slipped up it was way to obvious. One of my favorite stores was right next to us so I decided to go in there. STOP here for a moment with me. I have to confess that I have been really struggling with being a good steward of our money. I have been asking God to help me in this so I have stopped my buying of non-essentials for the most part. Back to the story.

I was so surprised to see a whole rack of $40 pants on sale for $9.99. I was so thankful and snatched up a pair to put on to cover myself from the draft! They fit perfect and I was so pleased with them. They were not my cargos but they were nice. Here is a picture of them.
Everything is fine up until this point. I got such a high from the great deal that I ended up buying two more pair of pants, a sweater and a vest. My total which should have been $10 now became $60! Now that is the problem. When will I ever learn?

Lord, please help us all to be good stewards of what You have given us. Forgive us when we are not. We love You and want to follow You with everything, even our blessings.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I am back!

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Hey sweet friends! Thanks for tolerating my sporatic posts. I am really hoping I am finally back! My writing project is now completed and off to the pilot group. I am so excited. If you are interested in participating in it as well please let me know. This study is a five week study for tween/teens called Girl Power, God's Way.

Thank you for all who prayed.

Oh, a new fun family thing we have been doing. We all adopted a webkinz animal and each one of us made our own account. We have family time where we can play games against each other and visit one another's virtual houses. It is a lot of fun for us.

Homeschooling is going good. I have a little catch up because I have been ill. I do believe things are looking up though. Finally!

We visited our family in Ohio for Thanksgiving. We had a great time with them. The day after Thanksgiving my brother and I took on the shopping craze. We had a blast. My best deal, I got the new version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory DVD for $2! Now that is a good deal. :)

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and are doing well. I will be visiting around soon! Can't wait to catch up!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Walk with the Kings of Israel Wednesday

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Hey y’all! I am so excited to be ending this walk with the kings of Israel with you! I do hope you enjoyed our time in the word together. Please do read 1 Kings 17. I would love to talk about that passage and how it relates to us today but unfortunately at this time we are unable to do that. So read it for yourself and email me your thoughts. It is a rich passage of Scripture.

Shallum
Now Shallum, who assassinated Zechariah, only had the throne for one month. He was assassinated by a very violent man named Menahem. Menahem took the throne after this.

Menahem
Menahem reigned for ten years. He also did evil during his entire reign.

Read 2 Kings 15:19
“Then Pul king of Assyria invaded the land, and Menahem gave him a thousand talents of silver to gain his support and strengthen his own hold on the kingdom. Menahem exacted this money from Israel. Every wealthy man had to contribute fifty shekels of silver to be given to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria withdrew and stayed in the land no longer.”

Menahem wasn’t only a very violent guy but he also put an inconvenient tax on the people. Now you know how people feel about taxes. Considering our experiences in our time with taxes and the great debates that go on, how do you think these decisions made the people feel? I can imagine he was probably not a popular king with the people.

Pekahiah
Menahem’s son took over the throne after him. He reigned two years. He also did evil like those before him. We have now seen several assassinations for transfers of power. Pekahiah’s reign too ends in assassination. A chief officer killed him taking 50 men with him on this task. He was killed in his own palace.

Pekah

From his assassination of Pekahiah, Pekah now took over the throne. He reigned in Israel for 20 years. He was also a king who did evil.

Read 1 Kings 15:29-30.
“In the time of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maacah, Janoah, Kedesh and Hazor. He took Gilead and Galilee, including all the land of Naphtali, and deported the people to Assyria. Then Hoshea son of Elah conspired against Pekah son of Remaliah. He attacked and assassinated him, and then succeeded him as king in the twentieth year of Jotham son of Uzziah.”

Also, he teamed with the king of Aram to go and fight against his brother Israelites in Jerusalem. The war was not a success (Isaiah 7:1).

His reign was not very successful at all. He would be the one remembered in the history books as the one who lost much land and power. He also lost many people into captivity.

Hoshea conspires to kill Pekah and succeeds.

Hoshea
2 ki 15:30, 2 kings 17:1-6
Hoshea reigned for nine years. He also did evil but the text noted his sin was not like the kings who preceded him.

Since Assyria had a hold on a lot of their land, Hoshea started paying a tribute to Assyria to keep them from attacking. He ended up being a puppet king with Assyria calling the shots for six of those years. Finally Hoshea decided that he was no longer going to pay off Assyria. Instead he sent some help to Egypt. The king of Assyria did not like this so put Hoshea in prison and he attacked Samaria. The Israelites were under siege with Assyria for three long years. Finally the siege ended with Assyria overpowering Israel. All the people at this point were taken captive and deported to Assyria.

The rest of Chapter 17 explains the deportation. It is such a sad story. God recorded these things from the past to teach us (Romans 15:4). I think we can learn that we worship such a merciful and loving God. Yet He is no wimp or push over, He is the God of perfect justice. He encompasses the perfect balance of both. My heart just beats in awe of Him. As we know Israel sinned horribly against Him yet He still holds out the covenant to them and now to us. All we have to do is to accept what He did for us and follow Him. An easy and precious gift that I am so thankful for!

Precious Father, I love You with my entire being. Thank You for Your great mercy and justice. Thank You that You are our Father and that nothing can separate us from You love. Father, help us to learn from these people You recorded for us to learn from. Help us to live our lives fully devoted to You. Please cleanse my heart and reveal any idols that it may be worshiping. I cast those down before You in repentance. Father, keep us ever close to You. Help us to follow in Your ways alone. We love You. In the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Copyright 2008----------------Refresh My Soul Ministries---------------Angela Parsley

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Walk with the Kings of Israel Wednesday

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Jeroboam II
After Jehoash’s death his son Jeroboam reigned on the throne. You would think that after all the sin that Jeroboam the first caused Israel to commit that Jehoash would not use the same name but unfortunately he did. In these days names meant a lot. I am guessing that this name held honor with it in Jehoash’s eyes. Why else would he name his son this? Especially since most of these kings have not walked away from the sins that Jeroboam I caused them to commit.

Jeroboam the second’s reign lasted 41 years. He also did evil in God’s eyes. We see that he had established a strong political kingdom because he took back some land for Israel. We are first introduced to the prophet Jonah here. He was the prophet who delivered this restoring word to Jeroboam.

Read 2 Kings 14:26
The LORD had seen how bitterly everyone in Israel, whether slave or free, was suffering; there was no one to help them. And since the LORD had not said he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam son of Jehoash.

Isn’t it interesting that God’s character is still merciful toward His children even in seasons of sin. God is faithful to those who He calls His own. God chose to use a great sinner, Jeroboam II, to save Israel. God is so patient and merciful.

Zechariah
After Jeroboam II’s death his son took the throne after him. His name was Zechariah and he ruled for the short period of six months. He also continued in doing evil in the eyes of the Lord as those before him.

Zechariah’s reign was cut short because he was assassinated by a man named Shallum. This took place in front of the people. When I think of this horrific act that was carried out in public, it reminds me of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. How does someone even do that? It was a time that lacked morals.

Read 2 Kings 15:12
So the word of the LORD spoken to Jehu was fulfilled: "Your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.”

Interestingly enough, just as the prophecy was spoken, Jehu’s family only reigned for 4 generations. Zechariah was the last. God’s word always stands true.

1-What do you think about the character of God with Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14:26)? Do we have to be sinless for God to use us? Can you think of a time when God used you when you were at your worst?

2-Have you noticed that history tends to repeat itself. Explain your thoughts on this.

3-God’s word is always true. You never need to doubt it. Can you think of any words of prophecy in the Bible that you are especially fond of?

We are almost finished! Great job in your diligence of the study of God’s word. There are four more kings listed until the captivity of Israel. We will look at them next week.

Copyright 2008-Refresh My Soul Ministries-Angela Parsley

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Christmas Book Review

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This is book two in a fictional series about some young adult friends who live in a house on Bloomberg place. It is an interesting story of four young adult girls discovering who they are in this world and what God means to their lives. Each young woman comes from a different background and their friendships seem to help grow one another.

This is a good easy read for anyone. This is the best time of year to read a Christmas novel. Also, it could make a good holiday gift for those readers you know. You can enter a contest to win a free book and a $25 gift card to the Collin Street Bakery if you leave a comment here on the centralized book tour blog site.

To check out more about the author, Melody Carlson go to her site here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Update

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Hey y'all! I just wanted to give you a quick update.

I am still trying to finish the writing deadline for my girl's Bible study project.

I have not been on lately because I have been suffering from a debilitating migraine! Praise God it is finally gone today!

Homeschooling is going very good. The girls are doing so well. I am proud of them and their hard work.

Tony is doing okay but still dealing with the neck pain. His physical therapy is helping some though.

Thanks to all of you who keep us lifted in prayer. We know and feel them.
Much love,
Angela

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Walk with the Kings of Israel Wednesday

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Jehoahaz now becomes king after his father. His reign lasts 17 years. He unfortunately did evil in God’s eyes and persisted in the sins of Jeroboam (2 Kings 13:1-2).

This did not make God happy. God was in fact burning with anger. God really desires for us to want relationship with Him over anything else. He wants our whole heart devoted to Him. But He will not force it. Instead because of His justice and mercy He allows discipline with the hope it will bring us back toward Him. Just like we discipline our children, God does with us in His perfect knowledge and grace.

God allows, for a long time, the Israelites under Jehoahaz’s rule to be kept under military pressure and oppression from the opposing nation of Aram. See what Jehoahaz finally does in the passage.

Read 2 Kings 13:4-6 (emphasis mine).
Then Jehoahaz sought the LORD's favor, and the LORD listened to him, for he saw how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel. The LORD provided a deliverer for Israel, and they escaped from the power of Aram. So the Israelites lived in their own homes as they had before. But they did not turn away from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit; they continued in them. Also, the Asherah pole remained standing in Samaria.”

Matthew 6:33 tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God”. When things got hard and Jehoahaz is finally really feeling it he does seek out the Lord’s favor. Don’t you love how the Lord listens to Jehoahaz? God sees everything, nothing is hidden from Him. Sometimes He watches and waits for us to ask.

Sometimes He has to allow the heat to rise to get our attention. Jehoahaz finally gets this and looks to God. See what God does--He provides a deliverer. We are not told exactly who or what this delivered was but God provides it. When this happens the oppressive power of Aram stops.

Unfortunately though even after getting relief from this long military oppression they still do not turn away from the sins of the house of Jeroboam. Seriously, what is wrong here? You think that they would learn but yet again they do not. This is so hard to understand but again and again we do see it as a pattern of human behavior. Even in our own behavioral patterns.

I want you to see what a huge deal this deliverer should have been to the people. There was great devastation experienced at the hands of the Aram army.

Read 2 Kings 13:7.
“Nothing had been left of the army of Jehoahaz except fifty horsemen, ten chariots and ten thousand foot soldiers, for the king of Aram had destroyed the rest and made them like the dust at threshing time.”

It is so sad when the answer is right before us. God will provide yet in our sin nature we persist in our sins. This was the case for the people of Israel again.

Jehoahaz’s son Jehoash is the next king on the throne. His reign lasted 16 years. He continued to walk in the sin of Jeroboam. He also had some military tension with his brothers of the southern kingdom of Israel and the country of Aram.

Now an interesting thing about Jehoash was that he was grieved over Elisha the great prophet’s illness because it was going to cause him to die. He wept over this. He also asked for his advice about the kingdom of Aram. This is interesting stuff to read. If you get a chance read 2 Kings 13:14-20.

Now read this about our God. I just love this passage.
Read 2 Kings 13:22-23.
Hazael king of Aram oppressed Israel throughout the reign of Jehoahaz. But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.”

Now, is that not a great passage about God’s great mercy, grace, compassion and love for His people? There is absolutely nothing that can separate His loved ones from His love. He remembers, He sees, He delivers. God is so amazing. God is a covenant God who takes His covenants seriously. We could learn so much from Him about this. I could go on and on about this but because of this study I will end here.

One last thing to note about Jehoash is how he tried to refuse a war with his own people in the southern kingdom. But the southern kingdom became arrogant and persisted anyway. Jehoash attacked and won. He also took treasuries from the Lord’s temple back with him.

1-Take a look at your own sin patterns in your life. Do they resemble Israel’s? Why or why not?

2-Do you see when we seek God first that He will provide a deliverer? Share your thoughts.

3-I praise God for the new covenant we live in. God gave us Jesus the final deliverer. We stand in Him in righteousness before God through we still have not been brought to completion. Take a moment and just praise God for His great grace.

4-Doesn’t God’s stubborn love astound you? Explain a time when God persisted in His love for you while you continued in your stubborn ways.

Copyright 2008-Refresh My Soul Ministries-Angela Parsley

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Walk with the Kings of Israel Wednesday

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Jehu
As fulfillment of the prophecy spoken by God to Elijah, Jehu will be the next king (1 Kings 19:16-17). His reign lasts 28 years.

A violent new start occurs in the kingdom of Israel. Jehu’s reign fulfills all the prophecy about demolishing Ahab’s family and Jezebel. Jehu destroyed all the people close to or related to this family line. Then he went about demolishing all the ministers of Baal. He cleaned house completely of Baal worship.

Again, we have a great opportunity for a new start here with Jehu. We see prophecy fulfilled before our very eyes. We see the Lord commending Jehu for his obedience. Israel has yet another chance for a fresh start with this new leadership.

Read 2 Kings 10:28-30.
So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel. However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit—the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan. The LORD said to Jehu, "Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation."

Based on the passage, take a look at what Jehu failed to do?

He was so close to getting things right by cleaning house. God commends him for completing the work God had in mind to do. He is given the time frame of the fourth generation for his family being on the throne of Israel. Would that not put a fire in your heart to completely clean house?

He has done so much already why not take it all the way? Yet he continues the practices of the very first king in the northern kingdom—Jeroboam. Jehu was so close to a great start. He did demolish the most of the detestable things but not all of them. Full devotion was not toward God.

1-Have you ever realized it was time to clean house of the filth you may have lying around? Things like movies, music, or magazines which God would not deem fitting for His servants?

2-Have you ever partially cleaned up and justified some of the things being okay to keep around? After all, it has always been that way and it seemed to work. Explain.

3-If you have time, check out the amazing prophecy fulfillment by Jehu. You will find them listed in 2 Kings 9:6-10, 2 Kings 9:25-26, 2 Kings 9:36-37, 2 Kings 10:10-11, and 2 Kings 10:17. It amazes me how God’s hand was involved so much here.

Beloved, please see God for who He truly is in this. God is a God of perfect love and He loves you unconditionally. God is also a God of perfect justice. He is the one and only righteous judge. Some of this sounds harsh but we are not God. With some things we just have to stand in awe of Him and thank Him for His grace.

Next we will take a look at Jehu’s son Jehoahaz’s reign.

Copyright 2008-Refresh My Soul Ministries-Angela Parsley

Monday, November 3, 2008

Marriage Monday-Grace

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This month's topic is to write about the grace in Christian marriage.

I can sum this up assignment by one word-priority! Without grace, marriage would be impossible. Without grace the Christian life would be impossible. What a beautiful picture marriage is to represent Christ and the church (ephesians 5).

When things don't go our way we can get bitter or better. The way to get better is by extending grace. The way to get bitter is the lack of grace extension.

My prayer for you all today is you will truly lavish grace on your husband and your marriage as you grow in grace together.


Robyn is hosting Marriage Monday this month. To see what others are saying go to her blog.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Clocks Go Back

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Don't forget to set your clock back one hour this Saturday! :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Walk with the Kings of Israel Wednesday

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Ahaziah, the son of Ahab is now on the throne. Remember, the last week of our study we glimpsed the death of Ahab. Ahab had a moment of repentance but not a complete turnaround. He did not give his whole heart to God. Yet, because of his moment of repentance God delayed judgment. We will see it come to pass as we study the next two sons of Ahab.

Read 1 Kings 22:51-53
Ahaziah son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, because he walked in the ways of his father and mother and in the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. He served and worshiped Baal and provoked the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger, just as his father had done.”

Ahaziah had a reign of only two years. Reading more about Ahaziah in 2 Kings chapter one we find out that He had a fall that eventually caused his death. His reign is summed up as doing evil. He walked in the wicked ways of those before him. His Baal worship was apparent because in his moment of crisis, after his fall, he sent servants out to inquire of Baal-Zebub. He went to this false God to inquire of his future. Like a fortune teller in our day.

God is the only one who knows the number of our days. He is the only all-knowing one. God was upset that Ahaziah inquired of false God’s rather than the one true God. Was there no God in Israel, God asked him.

Because of his actions Elijah met the servants on their way to Baal-Zebub and told them what God says the outcome would be for Ahaziah. The future for him was death. He would die in the bed he was resting in from his fall and die.

Ahaziah had no children to take his place so his brother was the next in line to take the throne. It is important to note that Moab, a bordering nation, tries to attack after each king’s death. That is so true of our enemies today. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Satan knows when we are weak and will hit us at our most vulnerable times. Just like Moab and their attacks. They were strategically planned to hit when it hurt. That is how the enemy works.

Jehoram now takes the throne of Israel in turbulent times. Judgment is coming we know from God’s word to Ahab. The question is when? This is a chance yet again for true repentance on Jehoram’s part. But he didn’t quite hit the mark. He is a little better though then those before him in his family line. He reigned 12 years. Yet he still did evil in the eyes of the Lord. He however, did not sin like his mother and father because he put away the sacred pillar of Baal. He however persisted in the sins of Jeroboam (2 Kings 3:2-3).

Because of their unwillingness to repent, a new king named Jehu will take this families place. We will read about him next week.

1-Like the Moabites, hitting someone hard when they are weak and vulnerable is playing dirty, can you say that you have seen this same kind of hit in your life from our enemy? Explain.

2-God is so patient with us. He waits for us to repent. He will not force us. Jehoram did do less evil in the eyes of the Lord but still didn’t give his full heart to God. Good deeds are not enough to get us right with God. We can never earn it. Coming to accept His free gift of salvation and His invitation to walk with Him is the only way we can become right before His eyes. Can you share a personal testimony about your walk with God?

3-Why do you think Ahaziah inquired of the false god instead of the one true God? Have you even skipped going to God about something first when you really should have? What were the results?

Thank for keeping up with this. You all are doing great. I am loving growing in the word with you!

Copyright 2008-Refresh My Soul Ministries-Angela Parsley

Monday, October 27, 2008

Love

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Beloved, rest in God's love today. We are so busy with such packed schedules these days it is hard to just rest. So take some time to focus on God and His Amazing, indescribable love for you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The HighSchool Musical 3 Party and Random Things

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Well, today we are off to see the premiere of High School Musical 3! Following the picture we are having a house full of girls for a sleepover. They are all so excited. To be honest, I am too. We are creating fun memories for them. Despite the sacrifice the memories are most important.

Last night I got to participate in a community awareness group for Lyme disease. There is a wonderful documentary called "Under Our Skin" that portrays the illness well. I have been Lyme free for over three years now. At first I was a little worried about that when others there were so sick but I know it gave them hope to see that you can recover in God's perfect timing and plan. I was also amazed at how all the people I spoke with could relate to how this illness does bring you closer to God than you ever expected. Because of its devastation, God is really the only one you can lean on during those dark times. He is the only one who can truly understand.

I asked them if they could trade this trial and go back to "normal" would they? The answer was no. I told them that I felt the same way about it too. There is just something that God does in those hard times. We had many people in the community come together and make connections. It was a beautiful thing. Please pray for those who are suffering. That is the most important thing to do for them.

We also are off today to the kidney specialist for my oldest daughter. I fear bad news because her tests came back worst than before but she and I both know that God is in control. If He sees that surgery is best then that is what we will have to do. She has such a precious heart for God too, nothing like I have seen before. I know that part of that reason she has such a heart for God is because she has learned the same thing, the importance of leaning on God through her trial.

The girl's Bible study is coming along really well. Thanks for praying. I am so missing your blogs but I am hoping to make a stop in soon. Maybe during the slumber party sometime! :) Hope you all have a great weekend and I will update on our doctor's visit later today.

*******UPDATE. Hey y'all I just am praising God for His goodness. Kaitlyn does not need surgery! The initial report given to us showed her in the danger zone so as Kaitlyn prayed for healing, I half-heartedly did. I could not figure out how God could change what was already read on the films. I believed He could heal but the doctors would go by the test so what they saw was important. Well, God showed me. After a study of the films today she is NOT in the danger zone. It is still borderline. So with some practical things to continue doing we have a follow-up appointment to do an ultrasound to check the kidney and bladder again. If that looks well then we are in really good shape. God never ceases to amaze me. He is always able. Thanks for your prayers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Walk with the Kings of Israel Wednesday

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A Very Wicked King: Ahab

Ahab was the next king in line. He reigned for 22 years. He was the most wicked king yet. This is the word of God describing Ahab, “
Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him (1 Kings 16:30-33).

God looks at our hearts. Whether we outwardly express it or not, God sees all things. Ahab considered it trivial to commit the detestable sins of Jeroboam. It didn’t even make him flinch. Also, he married a very wicked woman, Jezebel. Ahab went as far as setting up an altar for the false God Baal in a temple he built for him. He also made another idol Asherah. Both things were extremely detestable in God’s eyes. Yet the thing that scares me the most is that Ahab considered it trivial.

The Bible is clear about things being black and white. Isaiah 5:20-21 states, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.”

It is dangerous ground to call those things God calls bad good. That is why when appointing a leader we MUST know where they stand on moral issues. They will lead our nation down a slippery slope if they do not agree with God’s law. As we have been reading these past few weeks about these kings it is important to note that each one went a little further away from God. We cannot allow that to happen in our country.

There is so much wickedness to cover that is recorded about Ahab’s reign. Most of the accounts are listed in 1 Kings 16 to 1 Kings 22. It is a good read if you have the time. The great prophet Elijah enters the scene here as well. Since there is so much I wanted to point out another thing about God.

Although Ahab was the most wicked king, God still wanted to reach him. Is it possible to reach those who seem unreachable? Even the most wicked? You bet! That is why Jesus desired to come and die. That is why He defeated sin and death to reach us sinners. A free gift that we just have to accept and receive. His love is amazing. 2 Peter 3:9 states it like this, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Ahab had his moment of repentance. I want us to take a look at it. Elijah is told by God to go and deliver a message of judgment to Ahab. Pay very close attention to Ahab’s response.

Ahab said to Elijah, "So you have found me, my enemy!"

"I have found you," he answered, "because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD. 'I am going to bring disaster on you. I will consume your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have provoked me to anger and have caused Israel to sin.' "And also concerning Jezebel the LORD says: 'Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.' "Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country."

(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. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel.)

When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.

Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite: "Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son" (1 Kings 21:20-28).

Though Ahab repented on this occasion which I believe was sincere because God sees the heart. God delayed the judgment. What a patient God we serve. But again, Ahab’s behavior quickly returned to following his own way instead of God’s. Because of this his life was ended in a battle.

1-History repeats itself. A leader will only lead a nation morally by his belief system. How does that make you feel as a nation going through a tough election year? Does it influence how you vote?

2-Is anyone on this earth beyond the hope of Christ? Why or why not?

3-List a few ways we can be sure our repentance is true and not temporary
Copyright 2008-Refresh My Soul Ministries-Angela Parsley

Monday, October 20, 2008

Spring Fashion Show Fun

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These are some pics I found. The girls got a bunch of pretty Easter dresses from their grandma's and they wanted to try them all on to show us. This is daddy at the end of it all! It was a long show but below are a few examples of what they were styling! Where was I you ask? I had the exhausting job of zipping and buttoning and doing whatever I had to do to change the outfits.
*********Update:Per DH's request I had to take his adorable picture off of here. He is too cute but I respect his wishes. :(






Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Walk with the Kings of Israel Wednesday

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Baasha
King Baasha reigned over Israel for 24 years. He also did evil in the eyes of the Lord like the kings before him. He took the throne by force. You see a pattern of decline here? It is so obvious that when God is taken out of the center of a place it goes downhill. Evil prevails. That is not what God desires for us. John 10:10 states, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Again, God raises up a prophet to speak against this evil. The prophet Jehu declared the word of the Lord saying, "I lifted you up from the dust and made you leader of my people Israel, but you walked in the ways of Jeroboam and caused my people Israel to sin and to provoke me to anger by their sins. So I am about to consume Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat. Dogs will eat those belonging to Baasha who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country" (1 Kings 16:2-4).

We have to understand. We serve a God who is compassionate and slow to anger (Psalm 145:8). God is good. God is also just. He is the perfect balance. In these times of the kings there was a huge amount of sin. Generation after generation of decline in morality. It makes me stand in awe of God who is so patient with His children. He desires that all will come to Him in repentance but it is our choice (2 Peter 3:9).

As the prophet stated, Baasha’s family will fall like Jeroboam’s did. Again, he had a chance at making a difference. A chance for turning the people back to God but he failed. Consequences follow disobedience.

Elah
Baasha’s son takes the throne. His name is Elah. He is a man who also lacked judgment. He was killed by a commander of some of his chariots. His killer was named Zimri. Zimri comes into a situation where he finds Elah drunk and murders him. He then takes the throne by force.

Zimri
Zimri was also a man who lacked judgment. As soon as he took the throne read what he did.

As soon as he [Zimri] began to reign and was seated on the throne, he killed off Baasha's whole family. He did not spare a single male, whether relative or friend. So Zimri destroyed the whole family of Baasha, in accordance with the word of the LORD spoken against Baasha through the prophet Jehu- because of all the sins Baasha and his son Elah had committed and had caused Israel to commit, so that they provoked the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger by their worthless idols” (1 Kings 16:11-13).

This act, though evil, fulfilled the prophecy spoken over Baasha’s family. A very sad ending. Remember these are choices that wicked men make. God is sovereign and knows what choices will be made. God does not make this evil happen. God cannot tolerate wrong (Habakkuk 1:13).

The people did not like what Zimri did. So they appointed Omri, the commander of the army, king and went after Zimri. Zimri then locked himself in the citadel of the palace and set it on fire all around him. This was his end. He also did evil in the Lord’s eyes.

Omri
Now Omri has a chance to do right in the eyes of the Lord. Let’s see what happens during his reign.

Unfortunately the northern kingdom was split over a new leader. Half of them wanted Omri and the other half wanted a man named Tibni to reign. Because Omri’s group was stronger than Tibni’s, Omri became king and Tibni died.

The things Omri did are listed here:

He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver and built a city on the hill, calling it Samaria, after Shemer, the name of the former owner of the hill.

But Omri did evil in the eyes of the LORD and sinned more than all those before him. He walked in all the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat and in his sin, which he had caused Israel to commit, so that they provoked the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger by their worthless idols” (1 Kings 16:24-26).

So we see a horrible cycle of sin. It seems that each generation gets worse. Each king falls further away from God. It is such a sad thing to watch. Next week we will look at Omri’s son, Ahab. He will turn out to be the wicked king of all.

1-Looking at our nation, do you see a pattern of decline? Yes or No. Explain.

2-If we chose leaders who morally disagree with what God’s law states we are setting ourselves up for judgment. Just like the people of Israel. Remember Romans 15:4 tells us that the things from the past were written to teach us. What can we learn from their patterns and apply to our lives today?

3-Like father-like son. Generational patterns are showing here. The things we do will greatly affect our kids and the next generation. Are we making choices with this in mind?

4-Like the times during Omri’s reign the nation was divided. Does that sound familiar? We are called the United States of America yet we are far from united with this election coming up in three weeks. Any thoughts about this?

5-When men make choices separate from God they are wrong choices. Can you testify to any decisions you have made without consulting with God and the outcome?

Copyright 2008-Refresh My Soul Ministries-Angela Parsley

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This Is Why You Buy Cake

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Looking at this picture you may rightly assume that the children made this cake. That is actually far from the truth. I must confess that I made this cake. Happy Birthday Kaitlyn!

I begged her to let me make cupcakes, which I can pull off, but she wanted a cake. So here is my attempt at a cake! :) Just wanted to share. I am so not domestic. At least it will still taste good!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Prayer Requested

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Hey y'all. I am under a writing deadline currently. The Christian Children's Home here in the area has requested my girl's Bible study for their girls. Since the first version was with college age girls in mind it needs to be changed so it is age appropriate. Please ask God for time to get this done His way. Ask for His wisdom and Word to come through strong. Ask that I will hear Him clearly and follow His lead. Thanks y'all!

That is why I have not been to your blogs as much lately. I will be back around soon. Thanks!

Much love,
Angela

Friday, October 10, 2008

It has been a long time since I have been called a *****

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Well, for your weekend, I have another Walmart story. I really have stopped going as often so it just surprises me that I could run this blog on stories from Walmart. I am not sure why it is a magnet of crazy that is attracted to me--but it is. Man, every time I try to go again it never gets any better.

Today I was getting a few grocery items while my girls were at their art class. The Walmart is pretty close so that is why I chose to go there. When I was ready to check out I was cutting it really close to the time I needed to get my girls from their class.

The line I finally got into had a sweet older couple in it already but they only had about as much stuff as I did. We were both slightly over the 20 item mark. Plus they seemed so sweet so I just got in line behind them. Once the belt moved up showing some space for my items I started loading them up.

Behind me comes two guys while I am loading my groceries. They had already purchased something it seemed because one guy had a Walmart bag already. He had one other item that perhaps he forgot to get? I am not sure why he didn't just hit the fast lane. But they had this scheme.

They came up behind me and were acting really interested in the baseball cards. They passed by me and the other older couple and then as the one friend just left, the other with the item slowly came back and parked himself between me and the older couple who were almost finished with their order.

I just stared at him in disbelief. He was going to "cut" line in front of me! What is this, elementary school?! I realize he only had one item and I had over 20 but his intention was a "sneaky" cut-in-the-line. And get this, he had to be at least 45! I am not talking a young guy here. He should have known better for goodness sake.

When the older couple was finishing up their payment he went ahead and handed his prilosec to the cashier. She set it down while she was finishing up with the couple. I just chuckled to myself. Is this really happening?

Then he intentionally cut in and started checking out without looking at my solid stare into the back of his head. I think I could have burned a hole in it. I prayed about how to handle this and this is what I did.

I said to him, "Sir, you could have just asked me and I would have let you go first. I understand you have one item and I have many. But you should have asked. I have kids I have to pick up and am running behind. But if you just asked I would have let you go in front of me."

Do you know he had the nerve to cuss me. He said he was there first which was a bold face lie. Then he said some other mean things and went on.

It was the principle of the matter. Because I look so "sweet" people think they can take advantage of me. I felt like this was one that needed to be called out. I did it in love. Of course this is the kind of thing that continues to happen to me at Walmart.

Everyone else around our exchange tried to pretend they didn't see a thing. That is the most unhealthy thing I have seen. Anyway, bless his heart, his heartburn must go deeper than he even thinks. Please lift a prayer for him. He needs heart repair.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Walk with the Kings of Israel Wednesday

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A New Reign

Jeroboam reigned 22 years in the northern kingdom. God sent a prophet to cry out against the corrupt altar that Jeroboam built, instead of repentance anger filled Jeroboam. He did not turn back to God.

Jeroboam’s son gets ill at this time and he sends his wife in disguise to inquire of the prophet Ahijah about his son’s outcome. This is the same prophet who brought the first word from God to Jeroboam. The very word that told him that God hand-picked him to be king of most of Israel. I imagine he probably sent his wife in disguise because his pride left him unable to humble himself. That is what it seems anyway. Jeroboam had a great opportunity but because of his failure to follow God, he lost his chance. Instead he used his influence to lead the people away from God. He knew the consequences because God told Jeroboam what He expected from him in the beginning of this assignment. Jeroboam did not prove faithful.

Ahijah has bad news for Jeroboam. His wife goes back to tell him this is what the Lord says:

“7 Go, tell Jeroboam that this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'I raised you up from among the people and made you a leader over my people Israel. 8 I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes. 9 You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have provoked me to anger and thrust me behind your back.”
-1 Kings 14:7-9

Now Jeroboam was deemed the one who did more evil than all before him. I shudder to think of what that means? Remember God wiped out the world because of all the evil in Noah’s days. Was Jeroboam even more evil than all of them? Those people in Sodom and Gomorrah where there were none righteous but Lot and his family. Was Jeroboam more evil than all of them? There was great evil in the world yet Jeroboam surpassed it.

Jeroboam looked like he had a great start but the end was disastrous all because He did not seek the One who established his rule. Is there anything we can learn from this for today? Our country will not prosper until we humble ourselves before our holy God and turn back to Him. The economic crisis, energy crisis, and the other devastation is a way to get our attention. Will we turn back to our King? Oh I hope so with all my heart.

Here are just some of the consequences of Jeroboam’s disobedience as listed in the rest of chapter fourteen. If you have the time I encourage you to read it all. The consequences are very serious. We must take our God and obedience to Him seriously. He is good but He is also just. His ways never change.

Consequences:
1-Because of Jeroboam’s sin, the kingdom will be torn away from his family line.
2-The ill boy will die when his mom steps into town.
3-Disaster will come to Jeroboam and his family.
4-No one in Jeroboam’s family will have proper burial except the young son who dies because he is the only one God found any good in.

Now those are some serious consequences. But Jeroboam did some pretty bad things. I think the key to understanding God in regards to his treatment of Jeroboam is knowing and remembering that God sees our hearts. Not one of us is perfect. We all sin. God sees the intentions of our hearts. David committed sins as well but God knew his heart. God also knew Jeroboam’s heart. God is the only righteous one to judge because He does see straight into our hearts.

The next in line for the kingdom is Nadab, the son of Jeroboam. We know the kingdom is torn from this family though so it will not surprise us that he only reigned for two years. He persisted in the evil his father did in the Lord’s eyes.

During a siege against the Philistines, one of Nadab’s brother Israelites from the tribe of Issachar struck him down. His name was Baasha and he becomes the next king of Israel. He also killed all of the rest of Jeroboam’s family fulfilling the prophecy given through the prophet Ahijah. Next week we will take a look at Baasha’s reign.

1-We have a great influence in the world around us. Do we use our influence on it or does it influence us?

2-Above all else my heart’s desire is to prove faithful to God. What about you? Is there anything you can say you have not been faithful to do up to this point? If so why not do it now?

3-Any thoughts you want to share about our country, our distance from our God, and the state we are in?

4-What is the condition of your heart? Will you spend some time asking God about what He sees? Remember there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Listen to the Holy Spirit and His guiding. If there is sin then confess it and move on. If it is clean then hear God say well done, my faithful one.

Copyright 2008-Refresh My Soul Ministries-Angela Parsley

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cute Things Children Say

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Of all the things that the children could be playing in their pretend play this is what I am hearing today:

K-Do you believe in the Lord Jesus?
H-Yes.
K-Do you want to get baptized?
H-Yes.
K-Okay, I baptize you in Jesus.


H-Let's do it again. Now let's baptize Zelda.
K-Okay.
Phrases repeated again.

H-Let's watch the baptism DVD and copy it okay?
K-Okay. MOM, where is my baptism DVD?

Now they are going to watch and copy and baptize all the people they can think of in their pretend water! :)

It makes a mom's heart happy to hear this kind of play. It was their choice and they could chose many things today. What sweet hearts and passion they have for the Lord Jesus. Thank You Jesus for drawing them to You.

"Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Matthew 28:18-20

Marriage Monday-Finances

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In today's day it is harder than even to live frugally. Groceries and gas prices have gone up. Everything else has followed. It is hard times. This is a ministry that my husband and I think is the best education in regards to finances. It is called Crown Financial Ministries. It is a completely Biblical approach to handling money God's way. It explores every verse in the Bible about money. You can find it here.

Join others on this topic for Marriage Monday here.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Quirks and Love

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As a parent we cannot help but to desire the best things for our children, it is built into us. We want so much more for them than we ever had. But what do you do when your child has a disorder that makes life difficult? How can you give them that same quality of life?

I have learned so much from my precious baby. I am still in the elementary school of my studies but God started preparing me beforehand for this precious gift.

My heart was drawn to the study of psychology. I was fascinated with the mind and how it worked. I was interested in child psychology. I could not get enough of it. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. It fascinated me in a new way.

After graduation I ended up working at a children's home with children with some of these behavioral issues. It was great hands on experience. I got to see first hand that the only true help for any one was Christ. Everything else was just a temporary fix.

Moving forward a decade, God chose a precious child to entrust us to raise up for Him. I consider this a great privilege. Though things were not easy from the very beginning. She is sweet, friendly, bright, and beautiful child. Yet with all of these qualities there was something that was not quite "right." I could not really put my finger on it but a mother knows. Deep down I knew something was not right but I prayed that it would go away.

Today was a tough day with our child. She has good days and bad days. Today was a particular difficult day. These days are rare. It is hard to know what is best for her on these days. It is hard to know what works. It is easy to feel like a failure of a parent. It is easy to feel discouraged. But I hang on to the hope that God knew what He was doing. He gave us the perfect child and He is teaching us all things.

What is exactly wrong at this point we are not completely sure. The doctor gave a few suggestions of disorders. He confirmed her behavior is outside the "normal" functioning range. He confirmed that that what we are doing with her is exactly right. He also confirmed that home schooling her is the best option for this time. God knew. God had me prepared for this precious child. He has great plans for her. We are working it through together as a family.

The best lesson I have learned and continue to learn through it is love covers. If I just pour love in her no matter what the situation looks like it covers the sin, the bad behavior, the obsessive thoughts, and the misunderstandings. Love softens the heart. Hers and mine. Loving the unlovable breaks through the barriers. This is loving like Christ. This is how Christ loved me to draw me to Him. This is what true love looks like and I am blessed to get a chance to sit in the classroom of life in this crash course.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Good Eating and Fellowship in Malta

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Just thought I would share some more pics. This above is an olive tree. They are all over and I love to look at them. Fig trees were all around as well.
Here we are sitting on an oceanfront cafe. It was so beautiful.
Here is a fun pic of friends and food.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Walk with the Kings of Israel Wednesday

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A Look at Jeroboam-Part Two

Now Jeroboam makes the worst decision of his career. He is still living in fear and does not realize he is God’s appointed servant. He doesn’t realize that he can make a great kingdom for the people of Israel if he does it God’s way. God hand-picked him for an amazing task, he should have known whose he was.

Maybe deep down he did realize this but his actions tell us differently. Jeroboam chooses to turn from God’s way and establish his own way. This is where any one of us could so easily fall. This is why we must always be on guard. Jeroboam will end up making one of the worst decisions of Israel’s history. These decisions have an impact that causes generations to follow the way of sin by moving away from the one true God.

The people of Israel were required to make regular pilgrimages to the house of God. God established this sanctuary in the city of David. In Jerusalem was where God wanted this place to be. This was His holy place. The only place to go to God’s house.

Read 1 Kings 12:26-27
“26 Jeroboam thought to himself, "The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam."

Jeroboam should have known better. Remember what God spoke to him, 37 However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. 38 If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you. 39 I will humble David's descendants because of this, but not forever"(1 Kings 11:37-39).

How easy it is to forget the promises that God gives us. That is why it is so important to read the word of God daily. God’s promises are in His word. We must live by those in complete confidence or we will go our own way. God’s ways are best. Jeroboam was told to keep God’s statutes and commands. He was told God would be with him.

Fear creeps in again or maybe it is pride. Either way he does not want to lose his kingdom to Rehoboam. He thinks that when the people make their pilgrimages to the temple in Jerusalem that God requires in His law they will turn against him and return their allegiance to king Rehoboam. Yet, he had a promise from God. How is it that we so easily forget? God is forever with us. He establishes our works. He is in control. Yet, we like to intervene and help God where He clearly does not need help. When we step in for God we create problems.

Read 1 Kings 12:28-30
“28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." 29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there.”

Now I would like you to look at a map here-http://www.bible.ca/maps/maps-divided-kingdom.htm

Make a note of where Dan, Bethel, and Jerusalem are in comparison to one another.

Jeroboam took it on himself to make gods and place them in two cities in the Northern Territory to make it “easier” for the people to worship “God”.

What in the world? He was not seeking advice from God even though it was God who established His kingdom. He did not trust God to protect his kingdom though God promised this as well. He decided to rule his way instead of God’s. He made the kingdom his own instead of God’s. He lost sight of God. This was a very dangerous place to be.

Jeroboam’s influence leads God’s people to sin. Though we are each personally responsible and accountable for our own decisions, it is important we have a leader who leads us in the right direction. This situation is very similar to when Aaron made a golden calf for the people to worship in Moses time. Jeroboam had to have known the stories. Yet he did not learn from the past. Instead, he did what seemed right to him. Even though the stuff that Jeroboam did to this point was against God, he did things far worst.

Read 1 Kings 12:31-33
31 “Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. 32 He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. 33 On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings.”

Now Jeroboam has fallen way out of line. He is now “helping” the people worship even more conveniently by establishing shrines on various high places. He starts appointing priests from whoever he wants which God only reserved for the Levites. He also appoints a festival different from the ones that God has already appointed. It seems that Jeroboam is playing God.

It is important to note that all of these things spiraled from the emotions of fear and pride. Things are now completely out of control. These events lead the people of Israel into great sin. God’s appointed went bad. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. How grieved this must make God yet God is sovereign and patient with us. He never gives up on us as far gone as we get.

Though sin abounds in the northern kingdom, there were still some God-fearing people. Some people who believed God and took a stand.

Read 2 Chronicles 11:13-17
13 The priests and Levites from all their districts throughout Israel sided with him. 14 The Levites even abandoned their pasturelands and property, and came to Judah and Jerusalem because Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them as priests of the LORD. 15 And he appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat and calf idols he had made. 16 Those from every tribe of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the LORD, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to the LORD, the God of their fathers. 17 They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon three years, walking in the ways of David and Solomon during this time.

Now I want you to note the importance of these events. The priests and Levites took a stand. They refused to stay in the place where true worship of God did not exist. They left everything they had to come and stay in the southern kingdom. The lay people who had their hearts set on God followed the Levites and priests example. They too came down to the southern kingdom. Land was a big deal during these times. God gave this land of promise to each tribe. These tribes willingly left their God-appointed land to be in the place where true worship of God was happening. This is a big deal.
It makes me ask myself, how much am I willing to give up in order to truly worship God? I admire their stand.

1-Have you ever tried to “help” God in a situation but your “help” just made the situation worse?

2-Name one promise from the Bible that you need to cling to this week. Write it on a note card and carry it with you this week as a reminder.

3-Are you easily influenced to follow people even if they are leading you in the wrong direction? Why or why not?

4-Has God given you a responsibility to lead anyone? Perhaps it is a family or children or workers? If God has given you this position then it is important you are aware of your influence and how you use it.

5-Like the godly left in Israel, have you ever had to leave something dear for the sake of following Christ?

Copyright 2008-Refresh My Soul Ministries-Angela Parsley

 
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