Category Archives: 1 Samuel

1 Sam 28-29; 1 Chronicles 9; Acts 19

 The spirit world is real. Sometimes we forget that in our physical, material westernized lives. Everyone in this world has a perspective regarding the spirit world, regarding those things that are unseen around us each day. Some choose or by default simply ignore the existence of an in material world a spirit world angels demons. These people may live in ignorance of what is going on unseen around them, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is still invisible activity. Others choose to manipulate or attempt to manipulate the spirit world. They think it’s something to be trifled with, something to have fun with. Maybe parlor tricks, or casual entertainment.

11 Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” He said, “Bring up Samuel for me.”

I Samuel 28:11 ESV

13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.”

Acts 19:13 ESV

A third group may actively seek out the power of the spirit world. They might not fully understand what they are playing with, but they recognize that there is some legitimate power present in the invisible world around them. Saul fell into this group at one time as he sought to converse with Samuel even after he had died. Then there were the magicians in Acts as well that tried to replicate what they had seen Jesus and Paul do, but they did not understand what they were really dealing with.

And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land. (I Samuel 28:3 ESV) 

The woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death?” (I Samuel 28:9)

There may be other perspectives or hybrids of these I described, but there are also those that understand the spirit world and hold it in its appropriate place. Not one to be manipulated, not one to merely seek the power of, and definitely not one to ignore.

It is easy to go about my normal life, and forget that there is a spiritual realm swirling around me. But if I truly believe that it exists, it should impact the way that I live. It should drive me to my knees in prayer. It should give me boldness to speak out against evil. It should bolster my faith as I know that God is in control. I have sometimes felt fear of the power of Satan and his demons, ignoring the greater power of God and his angels. God has not given us a spirit of fear.

17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.

Acts 19:17-20 ESV

As we march into their territory, we should expect push-back. “No small disturbance “ (Acts 19:23)  is likely the understatement of the decade. Paul had just preached to everyone in Asia! Response to the gospel was dramatic and changing lives and altering societal norms. God was on the move, and Satan’s forces would not keep quiet. Paul acted wisely and stayed away when the crowd turned riotous. A town clerk ended up speaking reason and restoring order and ministry could resume. 

God is awesomely powerful and we should not step foot into our daily lives without walking in the strength of that truth.

Lord, help me not to forget the activity around me each day that is mostly invisible to me. Give me greater faith to pray intentionally and trust you regardless of the outcome. I recognize that you are in control. I also realize that although you have all authority, you also at time choose to let sin run its course in this broken world we live in. I trust you with the outcomes and praise you, the One above all. In Jesus name amen

Erin (6intow)

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1 Samuel 18-19; 1 Chronicles 3; Psalms 59; Acts 13

“After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David. From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn’t let him return home. And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself. Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt.” 1 Samuel 18:1-4 NLT

I was recently listening to a podcast with Lysa TerKeurst called, The Shame Script. Lysa talked about the ways shame can be harmful to relationships. How it can cause isolation, when God calls me to intimacy. I was reading 1 Samuel and reflecting on Jonathan and David’s friendship. It says there was an immediate bond between them. I like to imagine them having deep conversations about God. They were like brothers, bonded for life. They took their shame, doubts and insecurities to the Lord. I’m convinced that this made their friendship even stronger. They didn’t let anything come between them. Not even Saul’s jealousy of David. (1 Samuel 18:9 NLT)

“Rescue me from my enemies, O God. Protect me from those who have come to destroy me. You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue for me, for you, O God, are my fortress. In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me. He will let me look down in triumph on all my enemies. But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.” Psalms 59 NLT

How often do I carry past hurts into a friendship, instead of taking it to the Lord?

Dear Father, thank you for the gift of friendship and community. We are not meant to do this life alone. Thank you that I can trust you with my feelings. That you are the true healer of my heart. I want to live from a place of acceptance and not striving for it. Help me to be after your heart, like David was. Amen.

“But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do. And it is one of King David’s descendants, Jesus, who is God’s promised Savior of Israel!” Acts 13:22&23 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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1 Samuel 15-16; 1 Chronicles 1; Psalm 39; Acts 11

I was in a meeting this week where the devotional leader discussed how easy it is for us to think we are standing firm and tall and yet, God’s Word declares that in that very moment, we could fall. God gives so much, I do not have to stand on my own – ever.

Samuel continued, “Although you once considered yourself unimportant, have you not become the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 1 Samuel 15:17 HCSB

Saul made such a mistake – he forgot he was made in the image of God and that he was supposed to reflect His rule. Instead he misused his authority. It is returning to God when I mess up that allows the Father to define me by His love and let Him fill me with His Spirit. It was from this position that I can give myself to Jesus and accept His call as He sends me out into the world.

Adam, Seth, Enosh – 1 Chronicles 1:1 HCSB

As I read all the names of those listed in this chapter, I can recall some of their stories. Many had ideas about God but most of them I remembered had a relationship with God – that God heard, knew and remembered – that God was gracious and come alongside them and gave them what they needed. I think they loved to think of Him as God the Giver.

Now, Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in You. – Psalm 39:7 HCSB

This is what I notice in my life – my happiness is in exact proportion to my despair of this world to the hope I have in the mercy and all-sufficient love of God. When I look to God and see His hand in all my troubles and put my faith in His wisdom, justice, truth and love I can rest easy because He is right there.

But there were some of them, Cypriot and Cyrenian men, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Hellenists,[e][f] proclaiming the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord. – Acts 11:20-21 HCSB

In his book, Deep and Wide, Andy Stanley asks a question, Who is church for?  I love discipling others and I find the church the place where I love to be and find that I fit well into that purpose. I also love to tell the gospel story to those who have never heard the good news. What a joy to bring them into a body that loves Jesus as much as their new found love.

Father, may I never lose sight of who You are. Thank you for adding my name to the list of those who have experienced Your gracious generosity. May I find strength in the idea of resting in You, even in the midst of You changing me. I pray that when I speak, may Your words heal those who are listening. May many hear the good news of Your love and respond as the Holy Spirit moves in their lives. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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1 Samuel 11-13; Psalm 38; Acts 9

The story of two Sauls.

And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled.

I Samuel 11:5 ESV

King Saul began as a somewhat humble man. He sought God and fought hard for His people.

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

Acts 9:1-2 ESV

Saul, who became Paul the Apostle, began as a persecutor of the church. He ignorantly thought he was carrying out God’s judgment on this new sect, to become known as “Christians.”

But, in today’s reading, and a sneak peak into a couple day’s from now, we see a complete reversal in each of their lives.

The word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.”

I Samuel 15:10

20 And immediately he [Saul] proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

Acts 9:20-22 ESV

Who we are one day, does not determine our future. Who others perceive us to be, does not determine our future. We can be redeemed or corrupted as we continue to choose our life’s path. We must daily cry out for His wisdom and direction. Becoming a Christian might be a one time event, but living as one is a daily commitment.

Do not forsake me, O Lord!
    O my God, be not far from me!
22 Make haste to help me,
    O Lord, my salvation!

Psalm 38:22 ESV

This week I was reminded of the need for a continually renewed eternal perspective and reliance on God. .

There are no ordinary people.

You have never talked to a mere mortal.

Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.

But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.

C.S. Lewis

It is so easy to look at the physical world in front of us and give it undue emphasis, when in fact these worldly accomplishments, accolades, and accounts are the most temporary things about us. We will live forever. I am immortal and need to give greater care to my character, treatment of others, and self-sacrifice than earthly record keeping. My desire must be to honor God and follow Him rather than to seek the approval of man and any verbal or material recognition they might offer me.

May my life not mimic the first king of Israel that followed God for a season, but succumbed to people-pleasing before too long. Rather, may my life more closely resemble Saul of the New Testament who recognized his error and completed forfeited his own will for his life to find the beautiful freedom in Jesus, the Messiah.

Lord God, may You be first and foremost in my life today and every day. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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1 Samuel 25; 1 Corinthians 6; Ezekiel 4; Psalm 40, 41

29 “Even when you are chased by those who seek to kill you, your life is safe in the care of the Lord your God, secure in his treasure pouch! But the lives of your enemies will disappear like stones shot from a sling! 30 When the Lord has done all he promised and has made you leader of Israel, 31 don’t let this be a blemish on your record. Then your conscience won’t have to bear the staggering burden of needless bloodshed and vengeance. And when the Lord has done these great things for you, please remember me, your servant!”

32 David replied to Abigail, “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! 33 Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands. 34 For I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, who has kept me from hurting you, that if you had not hurried out to meet me, not one of Nabal’s men would still be alive tomorrow morning.” 35 Then David accepted her present and told her, “Return home in peace. I have heard what you said. We will not kill your husband.” (1 Sam 25:29-35)

David’s encounter with Abigail was such a blessing to him. Not only did she bring him and his men food, she also saved him from doing something foolish—quite the irony since the name “Nabal” means fool. He had set in his heart to avenge the act of one man by slaughtering all the males in his household. He would have had innocent blood on his hands. The future King of Israel, the man after God’s own heart. It was not God sending him to do battle, it was his own pride at being slighted and dismissed. He would have been using his power as a leader for his own benefit. I thought of Prov. 16:18—Pride goes before destruction . . .

Don’t I need an “Abigail” in my own life? Someone who will talk sense into me at a time when I have let my emotions get the better of me and I’m about to do something foolish? Something I will regret that has long-lasting repercussions? Pride is such a battle at times. It can cause me to shut my ears to God and what I know God wants. It’s behind hurtful words I might say that crush another person’s spirit. It’s what can keep me from serving others. It’s what I call the ugly in me and it comes out sometimes when I least expect it. That is not how Jesus taught us to live. He modeled humility. I am thankful to have people in my life who will call me to account. I have a God who knows how to humble me when I need to be reminded. It is a God who loves me so much.

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord. (Ps. 40:1-3)

Yes, that is my testimony. I’m not always great about the “waiting patiently” part. I feel it was more him who waited patiently for me to seek him. When I did, he heard my cry. Who I am now compared to who I was when I was living in that self-made pit—well, all I can say is I have a reason to sing! I am a work in progress. But with the weight of shame lifted from my soul, I can praise my God. I can surrender to him when he shows me that pride. He wants only the best for me and from me.

Oh Lord, you and I have quite a story to tell. I thank you for your saving grace; I thank you for your unfailing love that fills my empty heart. I thank you for the times I see your blessings in my life, and I thank you for the times I see your correction. I thank you I can confess that ugly that shows itself and you forgive me. I thank you for the friends you’ve brought into my life who speak truth to me, encourage me, and make sure I always look to you.

Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen (Ps 41:13)

Cindy (gardnlady)

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