Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
Psalms 43: 5
“In prayer we own Thee, Father,
at our side,
Not always feel or taste Thee;
and, it is well,
So hour by hour, courageous
faith is tried,
So gladlier will the morn
all mists dispel.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. Not one word has failed of all His good promise which He promised through Moses His servant…Let these my words, with which I have made supplication before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause and right of His servant and of His people Israel as each day requires. That all the earth’s people may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. Let your hearts therefore be blameless and wholly true to the Lord our God, to walk in His statues and to keep His commandments, as today…So at that time Solomon held the feast, and all Israel with him, a great assembly, from the entrance of Hamath to the Brook of Egypt, before the Lord our God, for seven days for the dedication and seven days for the Feast of Tabernacles, fourteen days in all. On the eighth day he sent the people away: they blessed the king and went to their tents with greatest joy and gratitude for all the goodness the Lord had shown to David His servant and Israel His people.”
1 Kings 8: 52, 56, 59-62, 65, 66
“God’s Three “P’s - Passion – Part 3
“Without passion man (woman) is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark.”
December 17, 1856
“Passion:” Ardent, adoring love. Boundless enthusiasm. A powerful emotion or appetite.
When I hear the word, “passion,” what comes to my mind first?
What am I “passionate” about in my life?
How have my “passions” controlled my life?
“Passion is what the sun feels for the earth, when harvests ripens into golden birth.”
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
“We must have a passion in life.”
Solomon was a child of promise. He was a young man, wise beyond his years, as he undertook the huge task of building God’s house. A task that he put first and foremost in his life. As we studied yesterday, in his early years, Solomon’s spiritual priorities were at the top in the premiere position.
Today, we are going to look at the third “P” in the life of Solomon and it is the word, “Passion.” As I prepared for this study, I must admit I found myself rather frustrated. When I began to research quotations regarding what Christian authors had written about the word “passion,” to my dismay, most Christian quotation books didn’t even list the word “passion. The few that did, in nearly every case, tied the word “passion” to some out of bound sexual desire. While this is one element of passion, it really relates to passion run amok rather than the “passion” God has put in every single one of us. This is what I call heavenly exuberance -- the overflowing passionate spirit which, we are told in Psalm 32: 11, by David himself, makes us “Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, and shout for joy!”
Furthermore, passion is what inspired Solomon to, as we read in our study text for today, assemble all of Israel and call on the name of God. It’s interesting to find that one of the most significant undertakings in 1 Kings 8, was when the priests brought the, “ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims” (1 Kings 8: 6, K.J.V.) It was the moving of the ark that reminded me of the time when King David was finally able to bring the ark back to Jerusalem and in II Samuel 6: 14, 15, we’re told that, “David danced before the Lord with all his might…so David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.” I don’t know about you but this is more than a definition of exuberance -- it is exuberance in action, passion overflowing!
At this moment in time, passion for the spiritual was at a pinnacle because Israel’s priorities, putting the will, way and worship of God first, counted most. The same can be said for Solomon, upon the completion of the Temple when all of Israel, we are told, rejoiced and had joy and gratitude for God was first. His praise was premier, His worship supreme! The result: a holy passion filled not only the life of Solomon, but of all of Israel. The consequence of such passion was made clear by Solomon, when in his prayer of dedication, which you can read in its entirety in 1 Kings 8, he tells God, “Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of Thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for Thy name’s sake; for they shall hear of Thy great name, and of Thy strong hand, and of Thy stretch out arm; when (she) shall come and pray toward this house; hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to Thee for: that all people of the earth may know Thy name, to fear (reverence) Thee, as do Thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by Thy name” (1 Kings 8: 41-43, K.J.V.).
Now this is a passion for God. With every fiber of his being, Solomon plead with God to honor the passion of his life, the building of the Temple, with God’s blessing and holy presence.
It is at this juncture that I want to draw our thoughts back to a more personal nature. I’ll begin with my own life. For many years, I had a “passion” in my life. I used this “passion” to write commercial advertising and copy for thousands of projects for charities during the last thirty years of my life. But down deep inside, I knew my “passion” came with a God-given longing that I chose, many times to ignore. I’ll never forget one day sitting in the office of a dear Christian man, a close friend of my dad’s, when he said these words: “Dorothy, some day, God’s going to really get ahold of that heart of yours and He is going to call you to write for Him – and it won’t be something you’ll ever be able to walk away from!”
In my case, it may have taken a catastrophic car accident and forced seclusion, but at some point in time, with a pen in my hand, God did get ahold of my heart, and I found out for myself what holy passion is all about -- right here in a place called Transformation Garden. And I’ll add, if God did this in my life, you are no different. In fact, you may be a much better candidate for I’m a stubborn sort and God had to really keep pushing at me.
Right now, at this very moment in time, I ask you, “What is the ‘passion’ of your life? Have you felt the soft touch of your Father’s hand, gently trying to guide you in a way that He knows would bring ultimate satisfaction and fulfillment?”
Remember, as Israel and their king recalled how God had fulfilled His promise to them and when they put their spiritual priorities in the principal position, the outcome was an entire nation overflowing with a passion for God – a happiness, a joy, and a gratitude that called all who witnessed the results to give glory to God.
Never forget, you, like Solomon are a child of promise, and when you and I choose to put God first, He will inspire us with the passion to carry forward His vision in our lives.
In the words of one of my favorite Christian women, Amy Carmichael, “It is not the place where we are, or the work that we do or cannot do, that matters, it is something else. It is the fire within that burns and shines, whatever be our circumstances.”
“But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing.”
Galatians 4: 18
“Lord, You seized me and I could not resist You.
I ran for a long time but You followed me.
I took by-paths, but You knew them.
You overtook me. I struggled, You won.
Here I am, Lord, out of breath, no fight left in me,
and I’ve said ‘yes” almost unwillingly.
When I stood there trembling like
one defeated before His captor,
Your look of love fell on me…
Marked by the fire of Your love,
I can no longer forget You.
Now I know that You are there, close to me,
and I work in peace beneath Your loving gaze.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. Just to let you know, Transformation Garden is now on FACEBOOK. Please come and see us and share the garden with your friends. The Daily Devotional is posted everyday, Monday through Friday on Facebook, too.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-281-1508.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.