Author Archives: mmattix

I Samuel 30-31; I Chronicles 10; Acts 20

And when he had taken him down, behold, they were spread abroad over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. And David struck them down from the twilight until the evening of the next day, and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men, who mounted camels and fled. David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and David rescued his two wives. Nothing was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken. David brought it all back. David also captured all the flocks and herds, and the people drove the livestock before him, and said, ‘This is David’s spoil.” (I Samuel 30:16-20 ESV)

David wasn’t perfect. There are many examples in the Bible of his mistakes. But he was a man after God’s own heart. He pursued God’s ways. When he fought the Amalekites and won, it was because God was on his side. Saul, on the other hand, had been influenced by the idolatry of his numerous wives. When fighting the Philistines things did not go as well for him.

The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was wounded by the archers. Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, ‘Draw your sword and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and mistreat me.’ But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died. Thus Saul died; he and his three sons and all his house died together. And when all the men of Israel who were in the valley saw that the army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their cities and fled, and the Philistines came and lived in them.” (I Chronicles 10:3-7 ESV)

Saul felt trapped and desperate. He asked his armor-bearer to kill him. When he wouldn’t, he took his own life. This led to the armor-bearer taking his own life and the trend continued. What a contrast in the endings of both battles.

Many years later, the apostle Paul addresses the elders of Ephesus, giving them advice on how to live through the fire.

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” (Acts 20:18-32 ESV)

When trials come our way, we have choices to make. Do we press on and fight the good fight of faith or do we fall on our swords? Are we on high alert, using keen discernment as the events unfold or do we get captured by the wolves? I pray we all choose well.


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1 Samuel 14; Psalm 124; Acts 10

Food is something we all need to survive. Food is also a pleasure that we often enjoy. When food is denied for the Israelites, problems arise.

And the men of Israel had been hard pressed that day, so Saul had laid an oath on the people, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food until it is evening and I am avenged on my enemies.’ So none of the people had tasted food. Now when all the people came to the forest, behold, there was honey on the ground. And when the people entered the forest, behold, the honey was dripping, but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath, so he put out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb and put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes became bright. Then one of the people said, ‘Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying “Cursed be the man who eats food this day.” And the people were faint. Then Jonathan said, ‘My father has troubled the land. See how my eyes have become bright because I tasted a little of this honey. How much better if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies that they found. For now the defeat among the Philistines has not been great.” (I Samuel 14:24-30 ESV)

Acting rashly. Depriving people of a basic need. Saul was making poor decisions as a leader and the consequences followed.

Peter had a vision in his hunger.

The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.’ And the voice came to him again a second time, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.” (Acts 10:9-16 ESV)

The Lord was prompting Peter to eat. Peter resisted because he thought he would be breaking rules, but the Lord corrected him.

In both passages, both men needed to rely on the Lord. The Psalm selection today reflects on their and our help coming from Him. If we rely on ourselves, we are hopeless.

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side…let Israel say now

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side when people rose up against us,

then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us;

then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us;

then over us would have gone the raging waters.

Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth!

We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers;

the snare is broken, and we have escaped!

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 124 ESV)



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Judges 12-16; Psalm 146; Luke 24

There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, ‘Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.’ Then the woman came and told her husband, ‘A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.” (Judges 13:2-7 ESV)

Parents who had long awaited a child, received notice that they had been awaiting for years, they would finally become parents. What a privilege to receive this great news from the Lord Himself! Not only would they have a child but he would be set aside for a special purpose from the beginning.

After the resurrection, two disciples walked on the road to Emmaus, not knowing that the Lord walked with them. That was until He broke the bread. Then their eyes were opened.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if He were going farther, but they urged him strongly saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized them. And He vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?'” (Luke 24:28-32 ESV)

I think the Lord delights in blessing us in unique ways and ‘opening our eyes’ to His ways when maybe we had given up hope. I end with the Psalmist who captured my thoughts for today perfectly.

The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.

The Lord watches over the sojourners; He upholds the widow and the fatherless,

But the way of the wicked He brings to ruin.

The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations.

Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 146:8-10 ESV)


Thank you for opening my eyes to Your Truth. Help me to share it with others today.



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Joshua 1; Psalm 143; Luke 14

“Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” (Psalm 143:7-10 ESV)

The weight of the world awakens me in the middle of the night. It is dark and the weight seems heavier than I can ever bear. I pray for peace. The Lord answers.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 ESV)

Rahab must have been afraid to help the two spies. She was taking a big risk. But she knew that the Lord was on their side.

Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built in the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. And she said to them, ‘Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way.” (Joshua 2:15-16 ESV)

Rahab took a risk and helped men who could not repay her. Jesus talks about this in the parable of the banquet.

He said also to the man who had invited him, ‘When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid a the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:12-14 ESV)

These life lessons that the Lord teaches us are important not only for us, but for generations to come. People, especially our children, should know who we belong to by how we live. We should be a living testimony to God’s faithfulness. Joshua instructed the Israelites to put out twelve stones to remember this.

And he said to the people of Israel, ‘When your children ask their fathers in times to come, what do these stones mean? then you shall let your children know, Israel passed over this Jordon on dry ground. For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordon for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” (Joshua 4:21-24 ESV)

As we remember and celebrate our Lord’s death and resurrection this week, may we show the world who He is and what He did for us.


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Numbers 34-36 and Luke 4

Before He began His ministry, Jesus was led into the wilderness for forty days. In that forty days, He fasted and was temped by Satan.

The Devil said to him, ‘If you are the son of God, command this stone to become bread.” (Luke 4:3 ESV)

In other words if Jesus was so powerful, why didn’t He made turn things into food so he wouldn’t have to be hungry?

And Jesus answered, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone.” (Luke 4:4 ESV)

Jesus showed His dependency on the Father. He was surviving despite the fact that His flesh hungered. Life is about more than physical needs. That temptation didn’t work so the Devil tried again.

And the Devil took Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to Him, ‘To You I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If You then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” (Luke 4:5-7 ESV)

Jesus already had all authority. He didn’t need to worship the Enemy to get it. There was only one God and He was it.

“And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.” (Luke 4:8 ESV)

Finally, the Devil attempted once more.

And he took Him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angel concerning You, to guard You, and on their hands they will bear You up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” (Luke 4;9-11 ESV)

Satan was daring Jesus to show His power. But He didn’t need to prove Himself to anyone.

And Jesus answered him, ‘It is said, You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” (Luke 4:12 ESV)

Perhaps during this time of Lent, we too can follow Jesus’ example when temptations of the Devil are whispered in our ears. When we decide to give up something that is bad for us, will we be tempted to savor it “just one more time” or will we use self control? When we are insulted for not following today’s culture, will we compromise our convictions just to fit in or will we stand our ground on what we know to be Truth? Will we worry about tomorrow or will we trust God to daily take care of us by asking us to wait for the daily “manna?”

What will you do?


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