Monthly Archives: April 2019

1 Samuel 31; 1 Chronicles 10

11 When all the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their valiant men went and took the bodies of Saul and his sons and brought them to Jabesh. Then they buried their bones under the great tree in Jabesh, and they fasted seven days.

13 Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance, 14 and did not inquire of the Lord. So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse. (I Chron 10:11-14) NIV

The valiant men of Jabesh Gilead were the same ones who had turned to Saul to save them from the Amalekites. The Lord was with Saul and Samuel as they fought through the night to protect the city (1 Samuel 11). At that time, Saul was quick to give the glory to God for their victory. In his honor, these men rescued the bodies of Saul and his sons and gave them a proper burial. In tribute, they fasted for seven days. I love that they were willing to risk their lives to do such a noble act.

Time changed Saul and he started depending less and less on the LORD and more on himself and other gods. He decided to do what was right in his own eyes. He chose not to wait on God’s timing but took matters into his own hands. He half-heartedly worshiped the Lord. This was not the kind of king God wanted leading the Israelites—he wanted a man after God’s own heart. And thus ends the reign of Saul—the one who was “asked for”–and enters the reign of David. Saul experienced a spiritual death in his life long before his physical death.

Unfortunately I see a little of Saul in myself sometimes. How often do I trust in myself and my own plans without even thinking of inquiring of God? How often do I ask other people for their advice, or seek wisdom from books or Google rather than seeking answers from God? I know there are times I’ve rushed ahead of Him and done things in my own timing. I’ve learned over the years, that is never a good idea. It usually does not turn out well. How grateful I am to have a God of second chances (and third, and fourth).

Abba, Father, I have tried living life without you and it is so much better with you in it. I want to be a woman after your own heart.  I think of the Psalm, “better is one day in your court than thousands elsewhere” and know just how special the time we spend together is. Sometimes it is difficult to pull myself away. Thank you for your patience and lovingkindness towards me when I think I’m too busy to sit with you. I especially thank you for never being too busy for me. In Jesus name, Amen.

Cindy (gardnlady)

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I Samuel 28-30; I Corinthians 11; Psalm 109

Could I ever pray too much?

David faced incredibly complex and challenging circumstances. His constant response shows why he is known as a man after God’s own heart:

But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. ~I Samuel 30:6 ESV

David inquired of the Lord ~ v.8

but I give myself to prayer. ~Psalm 109: 4b ESV

My knees are weak through fasting;
    my body has become gaunt, with no fat. ~ v. 24

Whether pursued by one of his many enemies or dealing with the fallout of wicked attacks, David pursued God’s justice.

In Psalm 109 we may not know the exact context, but he is clearly seeking God’s vindication with a clear desire for this other person to be punished. David leaves nothing to the imagination. He wants the other person to die and his family to be destitute.

Yet, David does not act. He prays. Fasts to the point of fatigue, serious weight loss.

With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord;
    I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy one

In the face of opposition, we should rest in God’s power and sovereignty, continue to praise His name, and even give thanks knowing he is faithful. He provides the strength and peace even when the circumstance presses in with fear and loss.

Our situation might not be quite as dramatic as having our family kidnapped requiring us to march for days without provision to reclaim them in a hostile raid, but we must equally rely on God for our daily strength and direction.

David was ready to face such an event because he had a right relationship with God. We should also regularly seek our hearts and make sure we are in line with His.

28 Let a person examine himself . . . 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.  ~ excerpts from I Corinthians 11:27-32

Specifically referring to taking communion with the proper ceremony, but it may be safe to take a broader application here as well.

We often deceive ourselves concerning our own sinfulness. We ignore pride, deception, manipulation, judgment, and other sins. God calls us to judge ourselves truly. Examine our hearts.

Communion is a great time for this, but it should likely be done at other times as well. Weekly, possibly even daily we should let God’s spirit reveal those sins we have rationalized and ignored. Better to deal with them on an ongoing basis through confession, repentance, and God’s forgiveness, than to be subject to God’s judgment, which in this passage at times led to death!

Lord God, I want to be ready for the battles ahead in this day. There is hurt and fear of man in my heart that threatens to overwhelm and clouds my wisdom. Forgive me for acting out of human logic and help me to rely ever more on You alone. Point out my sin that I may not tolerate it or be hindered by it. Pressing on, In Jesus Name, Amen

 

 

 

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1 Samuel 27; 1 Chronicles 9; 1 Corinthians 10; Psalms 141

We just celebrated Easter.  Christ’s resurrection is the cornerstone event of the Christian faith.  Because He died for our sins and rose from the dead, we too can be resurrected.  Easter gives us that hope.

Several verses stood out to me this week in the light of Easter.

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” (1 Corinthians 10:26 ESV)  Everything belongs to Him.

“So whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV).  Whatever we do in life, whether its changing diapers, driving a bus or running a company, we need to do all things like we’re doing them to God.  He gets the glory when we live our lives to the best of our ability no matter the task.

But my eyes are towards you, O Lord my God; in you I seek refuge, leave me not defenseless.” (Psalms 141:8)  Our job is to focus on the Lord, not our problems, and He will take care of the rest.

Dear Lord,

“Let my prayer be counted as incense before you and the lifting of my hands as an evening sacrifice.” (Psalms 141:2)

Amen,

Kellie

 

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1 Samuel 25-26; 1 Corinthians 9; Psalm 63

Last week, I read of Saul’s fondness for David turn to jealousy for his gifting. David was great at many things, and his talents and strengths were an affront and offense to Saul’s insecurities and pride. The first time I read the verse, 29 Saul became even more afraid of him, and he remained David’s enemy for the rest of his life”(1 Samuel 18:29, NLT), I read it wrong. I first saw it as David became Saul’s enemy, but it was the opposite: Saul’s thoughts for David made him DAVID’S enemy.

Last week, Saul threw spears at David during a harp performance. This week, David takes Saul’s spear while he sleeps. I imagine this Saul army of enemies–3,000 troops assembled to battle, and this scene, this David daring–I’m at the edge of my seat, breath held.

David slipped over to Saul’s camp one night to look around. Saul and Abner son of Ner, the commander of his army, were sleeping inside a ring formed by the slumbering warriors. “Who will volunteer to go in there with me?” David asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother.

“I’ll go with you,” Abishai replied. So David and Abishai went right into Saul’s camp and found him asleep, with his spear stuck in the ground beside his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying asleep around him.

“God has surely handed your enemy over to you this time!” Abishai whispered to David. “Let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t need to strike twice!”

“No!” David said. “Don’t kill him. For who can remain innocent after attacking the Lord’s anointed one? 10 Surely the Lord will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle. 11 The Lord forbid that I should kill the one he has anointed! But take his spear and that jug of water beside his head, and then let’s get out of here!”

12 So David took the spear and jug of water that were near Saul’s head. Then he and Abishai got away without anyone seeing them or even waking up, because the Lord had put Saul’s men into a deep sleep (1 Samuel 26:5-12, NLT).

Saul’s jealousy turned him into David’s enemy. And Saul was every bit an enemy–hating, hunting, intending harm. David was being himself, using his God-given and God-appointed strengths and position to serve the Lord and the king. When David has the chance to put a stop to the threat, he doesn’t. David’s trust in God’s sovereignty stays his hand–whatever God chooses: 10 Surely the Lord will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle. (Remember how the Lord handled Nabal?)

It doesn’t matter to David how or when or where. He trusts God is in control. David humbles himself to God’s will and timing. God impresses upon me to do the same. God asks me to look at myself, to guard my thoughts and heart, to do the tasks he’s entrusted me with, and to trust him with the rest.

24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, NLT).

Note to self: run with purpose.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 8; 1 Corinthians 8; Psalm 57, 58

I know that Paul was not the most sensitive man when it came to other people’s feelings. So I loved reading about the time he was right about the insignificance of idols and the fact that there was nothing sinful about eating meat sacrificed to them. But rather than trying to make a point, I can see that he wanted to make a difference. He demonstrated to me that he didn’t want to lose the right to disciple a weaker believer by leading them into sin. I admire that he didn’t push for his point of view. Instead, just like I need to learn, he willingly limited his freedom for the sake of weaker followers of Jesus who were still trying to figure out what that freedom was all about.

But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating[c] in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged,[d] if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers[e] and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. – 1 Corinthians 8:9-13  ESV

In the church I was attending there were a bunch of teenagers that thought it was okay to drink. What they did not know was that a sixteen year old girl was struggling with alcohol. Her mother fought hard, prayed hard and finally the girl broke free from her addiction. One night, when walking across a parking lot from work, she bumped into this group of teenagers (from my church) who were drinking from the trunk of a car. They invited her to participate, and even when she declined, they pressured her saying that it was not a sin. She took her first sip and fell right back into her addiction. They bullied their freedom on to someone who had said no.

Father,  even though I do not know their story, why do I presume to think that everyone is the same as me? Lord, I want to walk alongside others, not make them like me, but make them like You. Help me challenge those who cannot see, help me love and not judge, help me walk alongside as You have walked alongside me. Thank you.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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