Tag Archive | Israel

No Guarantees


1 Sam 8:1, 3:  “When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel…  But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice” (NIV).

The Godliest parents in the world are not guaranteed Godly children.  Why?  Because children are free will creatures living in a fallen world just like their parents.  They have the choice to follow our example and the instruction we give them, or not.  Few would argue that the prophet Samuel walked with God as faithfully as most men.  Yet, his children turned out so poorly the people demanded a king to replace them as judges.  Samuel’s example and faithfulness were honored by God in many ways, but they were not reflected in the choices of his children.

Parenting is a journey with an uncertain destination.  We can’t count on a good result just because we are faithful.  There is no formula that will assure you your children will follow Jesus.  You must place your trust in God, surrender your children to Him, follow God’s will the best you can, and leave the results to Him.

You must trust the result of your parenting to God.


July 26 Transformation Garden

“They took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4: 13 K.J.V.

“O hearts of love!
O souls that turn like sunflowers
to the pure and best!
To you the truth is manifest;
For they the mind of Christ discern
Who lean like John upon His breast.”
John G. Whittier

Today’s Study Text:

“When the Queen of Sheba heard of the constant connection of the fame of Solomon with the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions.”
1 Kings 10: 1
Amplified Bible


“Lessons Taught By the Lady From Sheba” Part 1

Lesson #1 – From the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you use to deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.”
Matthew 7: 1, 2
Amplified Bible

’’By what measuring stick do I judge those around me who do not have the same point-of-view as I have?

How do I judge those whose religious beliefs are not the same as mine?

How do I put into practice each day the words of Jesus found in Matthew 7: 1, 2?

“Be quick to judge yourself and not to judge others.”
Author Unknown


“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
Mother Teresa

Today, we begin a 10-day study on the “Lady from Sheba,” as I like to refer to this foreign queen who came to visit the legendary King Solomon. To say there’s a lot we can learn from this gracious woman would be an understatement.

As we begin to dig deeply into the lessons God has for us from the life of the Queen of Sheba, I want to lay out for you what I have uncovered as I’ve researched this unique woman.

Biblical scholars and historians provide some illumination on the geographical location which gave this lady her name.

Sheba is considered to be a country in southwest Arabia, which in our current day is a country called Yemen. The region where the country of Sheba lay was the mountainous and fertile part of Arabia. Genealogists of the Bible regarded “Sheba”, (most likely one, two or three different individuals had this name), as the source of the country’s name as well as the descendents’ name which was the Sabeans.

The country of Sheba was known for gaining its wealth by controlling the perfume and incense trade. And as we delve into the generosity displayed by the Queen of Sheba, we’ll recognize the fact that her country of origin was flush with gifts which underscore what history shares with us.

It was in the 10th century B.C., when the Queen of Sheba, propelled by a longing to find out about, not only the wisdom of Solomon, but the God of heaven and earth who had bestowed upon Solomon such wisdom and prosperity, came to Jerusalem bearing gold, precious stones and spices which she exchanged with King Solomon.

It is here, for today, that I wish to stop for a moment to reveal the first lesson we find taught to God’s daughters and sons around the world in the 21st century, by the “Lady from Sheba.”

Throughout David’s reign as King of Israel, despite his moral failing, there was no question that the one and only God of heaven and earth was the Lord God of David’s life. In fact, there was no greater longing in David’s heart than to build a house of worship where his heavenly Father’s presence would dwell. But having been a man of war, or as the Bible tells us, a man of blood, God gave the task of building a Temple to David’s son, Solomon. As we studied several weeks ago, this became, in the first half of Solomon’s time on the throne of Israel, his all-consuming passion. Building a house of worship to God was the singular purpose of Solomon’s life. Knowing that this was his goal, we find that rather than excluding other leaders in surrounding countries from helping him with this enormous undertaking, King Solomon chose to engage King Hiram and other leading figures outside of Israel to bring the best the then known world had to offer, in completing the Temple to honor Jehovah. I want to add, this was initially for one reason only — and that was to bring glory — exceptional and unique glory — to the name of God. And this is exactly what happened!

We are told in our study text for today that it wasn’t just the brilliance of Solomon that drew the Queen of Sheba to Jerusalem, but it was also Solomon’s connection with the “name of God.” How beautiful is that! After reading this fact I asked myself, “Would someone who is not a follower of the God of heaven and earth, be drawn to me because they had heard of my connection to my heavenly Father and of His special blessing on my life?” I ask you, “Could the same be said about your life — that you have a heavenly connection which others want to share in?”

King Solomon could have “shunned” the “Lady from Sheba.” She was from Arabia. She wasn’t an Israelite. She was a non-believer. A foreigner. A heathen, as some might call her. Yet, Solomon did not disregard this Queen. Instead, he welcomed her to the heart of Israel — Jerusalem — the city of David.

As I reflected on this gesture of kindness, my mind was carried to the words of Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, found in the book of Matthew in the New Testament. In a clarion call to suspend the harsh judgment we often apply toward others, Jesus asked His followers, especially, to “judge not.” I’ll add, there were no exclusions to this command. Jesus didn‘t say that you were off-the-hook if the people you disagreed with were not Christians or had some other behavior you deemed in-appropriate. He just stated, “Judge not!”

So often, I think that as Christians, we have somehow come to the conclusion that if we don’t “call-out” behavior we think does not follow the “guidelines” established by whatever religious banner we choose to fly over ourselves, that we are compromising our values. I’d like to turn this idea upside down and offer this perspective. If what I have to share with those around me, who may believe a different way than I do, doesn’t make them feel more loved, more included, and more accepted, then I‘ve completely missed the point of Jesus’ earthly ministry for His work was wrapping His arms tightly around those whom His’ society turned their backs on and tossed out like yesterday’s garbage.

Several months ago, here in Transformation Garden, a girl wrote me. She shared some very personal details about her life. And then she asked me this question, “Will you pray for a person like me?” I wanted to weep that she even felt she had to ask a question like this. But having been rejected by so many who wore the label of “Christian,” she evidently thought that perhaps I wouldn’t want to pray for her. Thankfully, I could tell her that here in the Garden, we pray for everyone — because the God of heaven and earth — your Father and mine — loves each of us as though there was only one of us. And when His Son, Jesus Christ, came to earth, He brought with Him His Father’s heavenly love that is big enough to embrace the worst of us!

Recently, I read a story that really hit home with me. I live in a town known for a great deal of New Age philosophy. In fact, over eleven years ago, when Jim and I moved here, a friend, rather mockingly asked, “Oh, are you New Agers now?” I told her, “No, we are Christians.” But then I went on to tell her about all the wonderful individuals God had led us to meet — and one of the women is a devout Buddhist.  Every time we go to lunch, inevitably, the conversation turns to things spiritual. But what took me by surprise was when I was asked, several years ago, to do a reading on Good Friday, at our local library from my book, When A Woman Meets Jesus. My friend showed up, unannounced. Furthermore, she was the last to leave, walking with me out to my car. And she shared that in her house, growing up as a child, there was no Bible. But she said to me, “You know, Dorothy, after hearing tonight about the way Jesus treated and loved women, if I had heard stories like that in my childhood, I would love Jesus like you do.”

As I told you, it was my experience with this friend that became the reason the following story struck such a cord in my heart:

“A mother living in Japan called the head mistress of a mission school.

‘Do you take only beautiful girls in your school?’ she inquired.

‘Why, no! We welcome all girls,’ was the reply.

‘But I have noticed that all your girls are beautiful,’ the woman exclaimed.

‘Well, we teach our girls to love our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and He gives them a look of holy beauty,’ replied the missionary.

‘I myself am a Buddhist,’ the mother noted, ‘I do not want my daughter to become a Christian. Yet, I should like her to attend your school to get that look on her face,’ was the reply.”

The first lesson we can take away from the “Lady of Sheba” is that when we choose not to judge another by our own standard, but instead, allow God’s heavenly love to radiate through us and around us, we will become an illuminating presence that draws others, as 1 Kings 10: 1 tells us, the Queen of Sheba was drawn to visit Solomon. Why? Because of his “connection with the Name of God” (The Message Bible).

“Do not be angry that you cannot make others as you would wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.”
Thomas á Kempis


“I want that adorning Divine
Thou only, my God, canst bestow;
I want in these beautiful garments to shine
Which mark out Thy household below.”
Charlotte Elliott

“Here is a plain strip of canvas. Before it stands the master painter. ‘Do you see the golden sunset?’ he asks. ‘Trust yourself to me and I will paint its glory in your face.’ And the canvas says, ‘I am coarse in texture. I am scant in size. I do not see how you can fill me with the glory of that sunset sky.’ And the master says, ‘Yield and you shall see.’”
Author Unknown

Your friend,

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.

A Preacher from the Dead


“And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:31

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Samuel 28:3-19

Spirit that hath returned from another world, tell me, how are men judged? Why are they condemned? Why are they saved? I hear him say, “Men are condemned because of sin. Read the ten commandments of Moses, and you will find the ten great condemnations whereby men are for ever cut off.” I knew that before, bright Spirit; thou hast told me nothing! “No,” says he, “and nothing can I tell.” “Because I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was sick, and ye visited me not; I was in prison, and ye came not unto me; therefore, inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it not to me. Depart, ye cursed!” “Why, Spirit, was that the word of the king?” “It was” says he. “I have read that too; thou hast told me no more.”

If you do not know the difference between right and wrong from reading the Scripture, you would not know it if a spirit should tell you; if you do not know the road to hell and the road to heaven from the Bible itself, you would never know it at all. No book could be more clear, no revelation more distinct, no testimony more plain. And since without the agency of the Spirit, these testimonies are insufficient for salvation, it follows that no further declaration would avail. Salvation is ascribed wholly to God, and man’s ruin only to man. What more could a spirit tell us, than a distinct declaration of these two great truths.—“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help found!” Beloved, we do solemnly say again, that Holy Scripture is so perfect, so complete, that it cannot want the supplement of any declaration concerning a future state. All that you ought to know concerning the future you may know from Holy Scripture.

For meditation: The rich man in the account (not called a parable) given by Jesus was full of false doctrine—praying to a saint, seeking some kind of second chance after death, rejecting the sufficiency of Scripture (Luke 16:24,30). Note the place from which these doctrines come (1 Timothy 4:1; James 3:15).

Sermon no. 143
26 July (1857)


When Doubt Won’t Go Away

{an inspirational entry on believing}

Wouldn’t it be great if becoming a Christian meant that all of our doubts and fears went away?

A few years ago I felt paralyzed with self-doubt about a big commitment I had made to do something I’d never done before. After begging God to zap me with confidence, and realizing it wasn’t going to happen, I asked Him to show me what made me feel so insecure and uncertain.

Immediately I remembered Gideon, a man who was called by God yet paralyzed by feelings of inadequacy. From reading his story in Judges 6, I knew Gideon overcame his doubts and fears by focusing on what God thought about him — instead of what he thought about himself.

But first he processed his doubts with God in a very honest way. Recent conflicts and defeats caused Gideon to doubt God’s presence and promises. When an angel of the Lord told him to go defeat the Midianites, Gideon asked, “‘How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest … and I am the least in my family.'” (Judg. 6:15)

His perception of himself made him feel inadequate. Damaged emotions and insecurities from our past have a powerful influence over how we see ourselves today.

I knew it was time for me to get honest with God, too. I needed more than a quick fix. I needed to figure out what triggered my self-doubts and led me into such a yucky place of uncertainty.

I remembered how a conflict with a friend that week made me doubt I should even be in ministry. After all, self-doubt whispered, if I can’t maintain healthy relationships at all times in all areas, how can I help others?

I also received feedback on a project that week. One harsh criticism overshadowed several positive comments and consumed my focus. And, I had been comparing my abilities to speakers who’d been booked for an upcoming event with me. Self-doubt convinced me I wasn’t as gifted as they were.

Conflict, criticism and comparison had sent me into the shadows of doubt.

What about you? When conflict arises at work or at home, do you ever assume it disqualifies you from other ministries or callings? Does criticism ever paralyze you from believing you can do certain things? Or, has comparison ever convinced you that someone else can do it (whatever “it” is) better than you?

In my book, A Confident Heart, I share how we can allow God to change the way we think, which will change the way we feel, and eventually transform the way we live!

It’s not a quick fix but a powerful process of naming our doubts, identifying what triggers them and then learning to rely on God’s power to lead us into a place of living confidently in the security of His promises.

The next time you start feeling insecure, ask God what triggered your doubts. Then process the trigger point through God’s perspective. Ask Him to show you lies you’re believing and truths to replace them. Then let Him change your thought process by focusing on His thoughts towards you instead of your thoughts about yourself. For instance:

• When doubt tells you that you can’t do something because it’s too hard, remember God says you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).

• When doubt tells you you’re not good enough, focus on the truth that God says you’re fearfully and wonderfully made; all of His works are wonderful and you are one of them (Psalm 139:14).

One thing I know for sure, Jesus wants you to live with a confident heart! Some days it will be about what He’s calling you to do but — even more than that — it will be about what He wants to do in you as you learn to completely depend on Him!

Leave a comment to win Renee’s awesome book, A Confident Heart.

Ready to lose the weight of discouragement and doubt? Join over 40,000 others who have signed up for Renee Swope’s FREE 7-Day Doubt Diet. Filled with daily insights, powerful promises and scripture-based prayers, you will receive a week’s worth of life-changing Confident Heart devotions. Find out more here.

© 2012 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.


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