Monthly Archives: May 2018

2 Samuel 13 & 14; Acts 28

We leave Acts after today. We see the command found in Acts 1:8 being fulfilled as Paul is in Rome preaching the gospel. The last verses of this book state the following; 30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance! (Acts 28:30&31 [NIV]).

Some theologians argue that the book of Acts is still being written. That we still have a task and duty to discharge. Did you know there are still 6,500 people groups in the world that do not have enough Christians in them to be able to form a church planting movement? Did you know there are approximately 3,200 people groups that are unengaged? That means no one has gone to them with the good news of Jesus.

Revelation 7:9 the Apostle John describes the scene around God’s throne in heaven. That there are people there from every tribe, tongue and people group. Right now there are 6,500 people groups that would not be a part of that picture that John writes about in his book.

What can you do today to help reach one of these groups? Can you pray? Can you give? Can you go?

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2 Samuel 11-12; 1 Chronicles 20; Psalm 51, 32; Acts 27

When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. 2 Samuel 11:26-27 ESV

Lust, sexual immorality, lying, murder. 2 Samuel 11 contains one of David’s lowest moments: lusting after and taking another man’s wife, lying, and ultimately, committing murder to cover up his sin. The chapter ends with the sentence: “But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” What an understatement. David had broken God’s commandments and broken even more of them to cover it up. According to the law, David’s actions did way more than just “displease” the LORD. God sends Nathan the prophet to David to deliver His word. Nathan tells David the parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Shepherd. This story convicts David and Nathan tells him of his punishment: evil will rise up in his household.

David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.” 2 Samuel 12: 13 ESV

God’s mercy shines out in this story. David deserved to die. He truly had sinned against the LORD. But God states through Nathan, “you shall not die.” David cried out to God for forgiveness after the incident as recorded in Psalm 51.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Psalm 52:1,7,10-12 ESV

David’s cry for the LORD’s forgiveness and a clean heart is one of the most recognizable psalms. David knew his sins risked alienating him from God, so he prayed for reconciliation between him and the LORD. He asks God to purge his heart and make it pure again. He begs God for mercy to cover his abundant sins.

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Psalm 32:1-2, 5 ESV

In Psalm 32, David proclaims the man who admits his transgressions to the LORD and is forgiven to the “blessed.” David experienced God’s forgiveness first-hand, as I have. Through Jesus, God has forgiven all my transgressions and inequities and put my sins on the cross. God’s forgiveness and mercy to David foreshadowed his abundant forgiveness and mercy towards us through Jesus. I have sinned. I have fallen short of God’s standard. But that’s why Jesus died.

Dear God, thank You for sending Jesus to die for my sins and for forgiving me. Please give me a clean heart and also give me a heart that yearns to follow Your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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2 Samuel 9-10; 1 Chronicles 18-19; Psalm 89; Acts 26

12One time the leading priests gave me permission and the power to go to Damascus. 13On the way there, at noon, I saw a light from heaven. The light was brighter than the sun. It flashed all around me and the men who were traveling with me. 14We all fell to the ground. Then I heard a voice speaking to me in the Jewish language. The voice said, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you doing things against me? You are only hurting yourself by fighting me.’ 15I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The Lord said, ‘I am Jesus. I am the One you are trying to hurt. 16Stand up! I have chosen you to be my servant. You will be my witness—you will tell people the things that you have seen and the things that I will show you. This is why I have come to you today. 17I will not let your own people hurt you. And I will keep you safe from the non-Jewish people too. These are the people I am sending you to. 18I send you to open their eyes that they may turn away from darkness to the light. I send you that they may turn away from the power of Satan and turn to God. Then their sins can be forgiven and they can have a place with those people who have been made holy by believing in me.’

19“King Agrippa, after I had this vision from heaven, I obeyed it. 20I began telling people that they should change their hearts and lives and turn to God. I told them to do things to show that they really had changed. I told this first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and in every part of Judea, and also to the non-Jewish people. 21This is why the Jews took me and were trying to kill me in the Temple. 22But God helped me and is still helping me today. With God’s help I am standing here today and telling all people what I have seen. But I am saying nothing new. I am saying what Moses and the prophets said would happen. 23They said that the Christ would die and be the first to rise from death. They said that the Christ would bring light to the Jewish and non-Jewish people.” Acts 26: 12-23 (ICB)

Paul’s testimony is one of the most famous conversion stories in the Christian faith and literally a case laid out in his own defense to Agrippa.

This is who I was…this is what God did in my life…this is who I am today…

Sharing the testimonies of my life isn’t about attention seeking or getting in my fifteen minutes of fame. Testimonies are about giving glory to God for the ways He moves in my life. Testimonies are stories of encouragement; me sharing about the struggles I have faced and how God is bringing me through. They are stories of miracles. They are stories of awe and worship, a reminder of God’s goodness and why He is worth of praise.

From beginning to end, the Bible is chock-full of the testimonies of men and women who were chosen and raised up by God to accomplish great things in His Kingdom – Moses, Noah, Rahab, Ruth, Esther, John, Peter, Paul, and of course Jesus, to name small handful.

1I will always sing about the Lord’s love.

I will tell of his loyalty from now on.

2I will say, “Your love continues forever.

Your loyalty goes on and on like the sky.” Psalm 89:1-2 (ICB)

And, David wrote song after song in praise of God, sharing testimonies of his journey from a young man slaying a giant to battle after battle won as a victory of the Lord.

The Bible reminds me that God will never leave me nor forsake me, but when I have moments of weakness, I sometimes forget that truth, and instead, listen to the lies of the enemy. Then I hear someone’s story of what God did for them, or I recognize through my own fog that He has done something surprising for me. A testimony is shared and I once more hold onto the truth that God is good and greatly to be praised, my countenance is lifted, and hope returns to my heart.

Yesappa, Thank You for making me a part of your story, for giving me testimonies to share as encouragement to myself and for others. May my life demonstrate Your goodness, Your love, Your provision, Your sacrifice to those around me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie

From the archives. Originally published May 18, 2016.

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2 Samuel 7-8; 1 Chronicles 17; Psalms 132; Acts 25

David is really motivated to find a house for the Lord.  He is upset that he lives in a house of cedar, but the Lord has never had anything but a tent.  He tells Nathan the prophet about his unrest.

“Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, ‘See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.’  And Nathan said to the king, ‘Go do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.” (2 Samuel 7:1-3 ESV)

But the answer that Nathan conveys to David is not what he expects to hear.  His son Solomon would build the temple.

When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish a kingdom.  He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.” (2 Samuel 7:12-14 ESV)

Then of course God will fulfill the Davidic covenant when Jesus returns to be our true King, ruling from Zion.

For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place:  This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.  I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread.  Her priests I will clothe with salvation, and her saints will shout for joy.  There I will make a horn to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.  His enemies I will clothe with shame, but on Him His crown will shine.” (Psalms 132: 13-18 ESV)

David simply wanted to build God a house.  God had better things in mind.  His family line would bring about the King of Kings.  He reigns in our hearts and will again on Earth one day.  I’ll bet this beats any of David’s dreams.  Thank you, Lord, for giving us blessings beyond our wildest imaginations.

~Kellie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Chronicles 14-16; Acts 24

There are so many examples in the Bible of David’s reliance on God. David’s got big decisions to make, and in simple, direct ways, he asks, “Should I? Will you?” He doesn’t use flourishing formality.

When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they mobilized all their forces to capture him. But David was told they were coming, so he marched out to meet them. The Philistines arrived and made a raid in the valley of Rephaim. 10 So David asked God, “Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?”

The Lord replied, “Yes, go ahead. I will hand them over to you.” (1 Chronicles 14:8-10, NLT)

And he gives God the glory.

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
    Let the whole world know what he has done.
Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
    Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
10 Exult in his holy name;
    rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
11 Search for the Lord and for his strength;
    continually seek him.
12 Remember the wonders he has performed,
    his miracles, and the rulings he has given,
13 you children of his servant Israel,
    you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.

23 Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
    Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
24 Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
    Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
25 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!

28 O nations of the world, recognize the Lord,
    recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong.
29 Give to the Lord the glory he deserves!
    Bring your offering and come into his presence.
Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor. (1 Chronicles 15:8-13, 23-25, 28-29, NLT)

Certainly one result of cutting back on social media is that I am freed to more quiet thoughts and contemplation. I spend more time laughing with my family, taking walks, and enjoying simple play with a puppy. And even more than those joys, I am up at dawn to see the breaking light of a new day, to listen as the world wakens with bursting birdsong–the whole earth truly does sing. It’s all praise. And when I’m not filling my mind with other people’s thought feeds, I have time to quiet and know that God walks with me. He listens. To think I can ask him, “Should I? Will you?”!

Lord Jesus, I thank you for your faithful presence, how you bend low to hear my simple whispers. And I thank you for your many answers to prayer, your patient guidance, and the sweet gifts of time you have given me.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 13, Psalm 60, Acts 23

The passages today have me thinking about journey. Acts 23 includes the account of Paul’s incredible journey from Jerusalem to Caesarea with a surprising escort. In 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 13, David orchestrates the journey of the ark of God to Jerusalem. These are, of course, the types of journeys that are acts of traveling from one place to another.  But that’s not the kind of journey I’m thinking about.  I’m thinking about the inner journey of my spirit as I grow closer to Jesus.

My journey is filled with good intentions.  I want to live in a way that pleases God.

“He (David) and all his men set out from Baal-ah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God…” 2 Samuel 6:2

Along the way, I neglect to follow God’s instructions for me.  The people of David’s time had specific instructions for moving the ark.  Clearly these do not apply to me.  What does apply, and I routinely neglect, are God’s instructions for loving Him and loving people.

“They set the ark of God on a new cart…” 2 Samuel 6:3

I suffer consequences.  These consequences certainly do not include death, but the effects of sin have devastating effects on my spirit.

“The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God” 2 Samuel 6:7

My spiritual progress has pauses along the way.

“He (David) was not willing to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the City of David.  Instead, he took it aside to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite.” 2 Samuel 6:10

I continue forward in my lifelong journey of following Jesus.  The consequences and pauses do not stop me from going where God wants me.

“…So David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing.”  2 Samuel 6:12

I praise God!

“David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.” 2 Samuel 6:14-15

Lord, My greatest desire is to be close to you.  I know I make mistakes.  I know you love me enough to show them to me.  Help me to keep moving towards you.

Diona (dionak1)

From the archives. Originally published May 13, 2016.

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2 Samuel 3-5; 1 Chronicles 12; Psalm 122; Acts 22

1 Chronicles 12 sings of the Mighty Men who came alongside David and helped him battle.

Note: all emphasis mine in the Scripture quotes

 They were bowmen and could shoot arrows and sling stones with either the right or the left hand; they were Benjaminites, Saul’s kinsmen. Verse 2 ESV

From the Gadites there went over to David at the stronghold in the wilderness mighty and experienced warriors, expert with shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions and who were swift as gazelles upon the mountains: ESV

David’s army is gathered.

These Gadites were officers of the army; the least was a match for a hundred men and the greatest for a thousand. 15 These are the men who crossed the Jordan in the first month, when it was overflowing all its banks, and put to flight all those in the valleys, to the east and to the west.

16 And some of the men of Benjamin and Judah came to the stronghold to David. 17 David went out to meet them and said to them, “If you have come to me in friendship to help me, my heart will be joined to you; but if to betray me to my adversaries, although there is no wrong in my hands, then may the God of our fathers see and rebuke you.” 18 Then the Spirit clothed Amasai, chief of the thirty, and he said,

“We are yours, O David,
    and with you, O son of Jesse!
Peace, peace to you,
    and peace to your helpers!
    For your God helps you.”

Then David received them and made them officers of his troops. ESV

22 For from day to day men came to David to help him, until there was a great army, like an army of God. ESV

In verses  23- 37, these men are described as:  mighty men of valor for war; mighty men of valor, famous men in their fathers’  houses; men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; equipped for battle with all the weapons of war, to help David[c] with singleness of purpose; seasoned troops ready for battle.

Strength, vigor, physical prowess, mighty men,

___and____

Heart devotion, loyalty, anointing, Spirit moving

38 All these, men of war, arrayed in battle order, came to Hebron with a whole heart to make David king over all Israel. Likewise, all the rest of Israel were of a single mind to make David king. 39 And they were there with David for three days, eating and drinking, for their brothers had made preparation for them. 40 And also their relatives, from as far as Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, came bringing food on donkeys and on camels and on mules and on oxen, abundant provisions of flour, cakes of figs, clusters of raisins, and wine and oil, oxen and sheep, for there was joy in Israel. 1 Chronicles 12 ESV

When I initially read this chapter, this last section sung out to me first. Verses 38-40… for there was joy in Israel. Yes. How we need respite; times of fellowship and feasting. Times of strength and singing. In the midst of the great battles of life. In the midst of David’s battle for his life and for the kingdom. I can feel the heart-swell of joy. I can feel the power pulse through the chapter. What a congregation of valiant men… of warriors!

There is joy in single-mindedness, commonality, and fellowship! There is joy in food laid out for a feast in celebration and succor.

I have young men growing up in my home. The references to strength, power, victory, and valor ring especially true and poignant for me. And I am the wife of a treasured man. Men need each other to face the battles of life. We all need each other. I hope that my home can continue to grow into a place where warriors can rest as they prepare to face the battles of their day. And I pray that my men find a commonality and a joy in the Lord who is their strength and the victory found in Him.

Lord, let the joy of feasting in you sing through my home. As we celebrate victories, and as we face battles, let our family be a place of respite and succor. Anoint us to be of one mind, single in action and purpose. I turn my face to You. I hide myself in You. You are worthy- and in every battle- and in each victory- MAY YOU BE PRAISED!

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