Monthly Archives: August 2020

1 Samuel 24; 1 Corinthians 5; Ezekiel 3; Psalm 39

Everyone around David thought he just had the most fitting opportunity dropped in his lap. Here was his “enemy” King Saul right at his doorstep. All he had to do, was reach out with his sword and end this tiring cat and mouse game and claim his rightful place as the king of Israel.

Instead, David waited and trusted God, obeying His command.

He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord’s anointed.”

I Samuel 24:6 ESV

God’s ways don’t always fit the human narrative. We discern the events of this world a little shortsightedly. Sometimes we might even have great intentions, but the ultimate standard is God’s.

Sometimes from a human perspective a certain path might seem the most cost-effective, productive, timely, or logical. But, God views situations differently.

Ezekiel discovered this as well.

Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them. For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel . . . Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you. But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart . . . Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” . . . 11 And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ whether they hear or refuse to hear.”

Ezekiel 3:4-11 ESV

He might have easily seen the responsiveness of other nations and thought, “I need to go preach to them.” And, that might have been God’s design for someone else. Instead, Ezekiel had the not fun job of going to his own people, the stubborn ones. The ones that knew the truth, but continually rejected it.

This offers a perfect example of this important pair of truths —

Our responsibility: obedience

God’s responsibility: outcome

We do not need to jump ahead and pick our path based on greatest possible success. We should not let discouragement creep in when we walk in obedience and see little fruit. We obey. God determines the outcome.

And, like David we can rest in that, and ask God to help us have a proper perspective of our place in this world.

“O Lord, make me know my end
    and what is the measure of my days;
    let me know how fleeting I am!

Psalm 39:4 ESV

Lord God, help me find contentment in obedience to You and Your commands. Guide my vision and each step that my life may complete Your plan. Help me trust Your working and hope always in You. In Jesus Name Amen.

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1 Samuel 20; 1 Corinthians 2; Lamentations 5; Psalm 36

Our family has spent this whole week watching the vast Atlantic Ocean from the shoreline of our rental home. Relaxing & laughing with and loving on each other.

My oldest daughter recently shared with me an ocean fact that she read in a book, just before we left for our beach trip. The fact was about how much water there was in the oceans per person on the earth. She was not exactly sure what the correct figure was, so I thought I’d do that math.

There are 343,423,668,428,484,681,262 gallons of water in the oceans. The world population is approximately 7 billion. Dividing the first number by the second gives an answer of 49,060,524,061 gallons of ocean water per person on the earth. That’s alot of water!

Why all this ocean fact knowledge on 66 books?

“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O Lord, You preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

Psalm 36:5-7 NIV

Another ocean fact:

“Beneath the world’s oceans lie rugged mountains, active volcanoes, vast plateaus and almost bottomless trenches. The deepest ocean trenches could easily swallow up the tallest mountains on land.” *

So, when I read and contemplate these verses about the Lord’s love, faithfulness, righteousness, and justice while at the ocean, I am consumed with the vastness of it.

Especially in light of verses 1 & 2…

“An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked. There is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.”

How many times have I been like this wicked man David writes about? How many times have I acted in a sinful manner with no fear (respect) of God and His holiness? How easy it is to become tangled in the web of sin,  thinking that I deserve this or that, or that I have a right to act this way, or to think these thoughts. I have flattered myself in my eyes, so much that I do not detect and/or hate the sin that is consuming me.

But God’s love, oh His unfailing love is so vast, so merciful, so forgiving. When I turn from my sin and acknowledge Him as the Lord, He is so quick to show me grace and to cover me with His righteousness. God’s justice for the contrite is forgiveness and reconcillation, certainly not what I deserve or am due. What I deserve or am due is the opposite of what He gives, when I turn from my sin and accept His gift of redemption.

Lord,

Thank you once again for your unfailing love to me.

“You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19 NIV)

Your love is truly, wonderfully,  and magnificently amazing!

Amen.

– Beckie (look2thehills)

*http://www.mos.org/oceans/planet/features.html

from the archives, August 28, 2010

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1 Samuel 19; 1 Corinthians 1; Lamentations 4; Psalm 35

When I read these scriptures, there are issues then that still happen today, and I mourn.

I mourn Saul who was given title and responsibility, but whose heart was choked by jealousy, insecurity, anger, pride. God, give me kingdom vision to elevate others and work in unison. I delight in your work, and I value and encourage others. Guard my heart against comparison and resentment.

The next morning Jonathan spoke with his father about David, saying many good things about him. “The king must not sin against his servant David,” Jonathan said. “He’s never done anything to harm you. He has always helped you in any way he could. Have you forgotten about the time he risked his life to kill the Philistine giant and how the Lord brought a great victory to all Israel as a result? You were certainly happy about it then. Why should you murder an innocent man like David? There is no reason for it at all!” (1 Samuel 19:4-5, NLT)

I mourn David who was serving, talented, strong, chosen–and hated for it all. God, an enemy whispers, guilts, shames me to be ineffective, small, afraid. Help me live life freely for your glory, to be who you’ve called me to be, even when faced by a foe who wants to shut me up and take me down.

O Lord, oppose those who oppose me.
    Fight those who fight against me.
Put on your armor, and take up your shield.
    Prepare for battle, and come to my aid.
Lift up your spear and javelin
    against those who pursue me.
Let me hear you say,
    “I will give you victory!”
Bring shame and disgrace on those trying to kill me;
    turn them back and humiliate those who want to harm me.
Blow them away like chaff in the wind—
    a wind sent by the angel of the Lord.
Make their path dark and slippery,
    with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
I did them no wrong, but they laid a trap for me.
    I did them no wrong, but they dug a pit to catch me.
So let sudden ruin come upon them!
    Let them be caught in the trap they set for me!
    Let them be destroyed in the pit they dug for me. (Psalm 35:1-8, NLT)

I mourn the before-and-after contrast in Lamentations. When the life one knows is stripped away–who do we become when pressures weight? Lord, when the life I knew is suddenly changed, help me to mature and grow in the season. Challenges show me who I am at heart, and who you are always. May I always seek you.

Our princes once glowed with health—
    brighter than snow, whiter than milk.
Their faces were as ruddy as rubies,
    their appearance like fine jewels.

But now their faces are blacker than soot.
    No one recognizes them in the streets.
Their skin sticks to their bones;
    it is as dry and hard as wood. (Lamentations 4:7-8, NLT)

I mourn the splintering of community. Oh, Lord, help me to see beyond the temporary to keep my eyes on the eternal. I bring the narrative to you–show me what is true and right. Divisions are diversions on the path–help me to stay the course, eyes on you.

10 I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. 11 For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. (1 Corinthians 1:10-11, NLT)

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Samuel 18; Romans 16; Lamentations 3; Psalm 34

I admire David’s leadership skills – they were quite impressive and one of his trademarks was success in all that he did.

David led his men in battle and was successful in all he did, because the Lord was with him. – 1 Samuel 18:14 GNT

It is a prayer of mine that the Lord walk with me in whatever I am doing. Emotions and actions matter and I so I like responding in truth if I can. I would love if those around me would say that I treat them with respect and dignity even when they do not treat me the same. Meekness is a strength even though it looks like a weakness but it is there that I make good decisions. I need the Holy Spirit to be part of my life.

Wisdom is a key part of leadership skills I admire.

Everyone has heard of your loyalty to the gospel, and for this reason I am happy about you. I want you to be wise about what is good, but innocent in what is evil. And God, our source of peace, will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. – Romans 16:19-20 GNT

Maybe I should define that better – wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil. I see God as my God of peace and I trust that His grace will walk with me.

These short statements summarize my thoughts along these lines best.

The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue,

Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.

The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope.

The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him,

So it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us— Lamentations 3:22-26 GNT

In my life God has been gracious, loving and patient. When I have been influenced because I was looking at circumstances through my eyes and not through faith, God was still there. When I yielded to Him, His plans and purposes were perfect.

These days when I seem to be alone, I can be, but I am not lonely. I am aware of God’s unconditional love, and His goodness. In humble submission I wait for Him and submit to His Holy Spirit.

Father, I love praying in the Holy Spirit. Thank you for allowing me to be moved and guided in my prayer life. There is so much You want for me and I love how You guide my thoughts. Your Word is so important in learning how to walk with You – thank you for meeting me each day to reveal Your character to me. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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1 Samuel 17; Romans 15; Lam. 2; Ps.33

“Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul.  “I’ll go fight him!” “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied.  “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.”  But David persisted.  “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said.  “When a lion and a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from it’s mouth.  If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death.  I have done this to both lions and bears , and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God!”  The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from the Philistine!” 1 Samuel 17:32-37 NLT

I have pictured David’s time as a shepherd being fairly easy.  I never thought of him rescuing lambs and killing lions and bears.  He didn’t know at the time how God was preparing him to fight Goliath. David was ready.  He didn’t let Saul’s lack of faith deter him from what God wanted him to do.

“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand , and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength and character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment.  For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:2-4 NLT

Like David, I usually can’t see how my faith was strengthened by a trial until God brings me into another one.  I can look back and draw strength from how God brought me through in the past.  It can be hard for me to find joy in the midst of my pain. I want to  scream, cry, run or avoid it at times.   I am thankful for a God who understands my emotions. I can run to him and  find comfort in knowing that he with me and doesn’t leave my side.

“For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does.  He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth.  The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes.  But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken.  What joy for the nation whose God is the Lord, whose people he has chosen as his inheritance.  But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.  He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine.  We put our hope in the Lord.  He is our help and our shield.  In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone” Psalms 33 NLT

Dear Father,  Thank you for your unfailing love.  I rely on your strength when I am weak.  Thank you for giving me your Holy Spirit.  I praise you for who you are.  Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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