Category Archives: 1 Samuel

Num. 25; Ps. 68; Isa. 15; 1 Pet. 3

Would there be enough evidence to find you guilty as charged?

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives… Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. 1 Peter 3

In lieu of the current-day statistics on marriage, the good news is there’s a 100% chance of success in marriage! A rather bold statement in light of how marriage is portrayed today in the world. I know that 100% sounds extreme, but it is possible! How? Because our God made marriage and He never makes or designs anything to fail! Nor does He make anyone to fail. God speaks to us throughout His word in various forms, but nowhere more clearly and direct, than in 1 Peter 3, which speaks to both men and women about His perfect plan for covenant relationship. And, just like in Ephesians 5, men and women are given specific instructions to submit to one another in the fear of God, then continues with specific instructions to each on their responsibility.

So, if the “manual” tells us what to do, why do so many Christian men and a women fail to fulfill their God-given calling as husband and wife? Why is the divorce rate of Christians and non-Christians virtually the same? The answer is simple… 18”! The distance between the head and the heart… it’s the distance between the knowing and the doing, as many Christians have chosen to ignore or reject God’s perfect plan for marriage into their hearts. Head knowledge offers a mental perspective of God’s plan, however it is in the heart where true relationship with God resides and actions have the best chance of survival.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Other factors are at work, as well, which threaten God’s plan for marriage… contemporary attitudes towards marriage have distorted God’s architecture of mutual submission to mean something negative, using descriptors such as dominated, oppressed, and dictatorial instead of the divine expression of God’s love and understanding for His children and how they innately function in the context of relationship.

Jimmy Evans, in his book “Marriage on the Rock,” stated that of the scriptures related to relationship, couples love Ephesians 5 because of what it says about their partners responsibility to relationship, not their own! Perhaps the answer to living according to God’s plan lies in considering what scripture says about ourselves first, and inviting God into the process of holding us accountable to our roles, and let Him handle the rest. Man… Woman… God… three strands… not easily broken!

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12

God, who made us, understands completely that the innate need of a woman is security and to be loved, and for a man, to be respected and honored… both 1 Peter 3 and Ephesians 5 speak to this directly. Interestingly, women are not commanded to love their husbands, rather to submit to their husbands… to understand and support them, as that is the language that speaks to men! Men? 1 Peter and Ephesians 5 use different language on what you’re to do… the command for men is to love their wives, as Christ loved the church, who gave Himself up for her… to live with her in an understanding way. Different approach… different language… same origin… SACRIFICE for each other, using the language of your partner! Isn’t He amazing? God knew what He was doing and His design is perfect! God’s plan isn’t meant to harm us… QUITE the contrary. God’s plan, at its foundation, is to protect us… it’s the instructions on how to penetrate brokenness and speak deep within our partner’s heart.

Perhaps, if things aren’t going so well relationally, prayers aren’t being answered, it might be worth considering a different approach… How about God’s plan for marriage… so that our prayers may not be hindered.

So… a quick question… (answer honestly!)…

If you were accused of “acting like a Christian _____ (husband/wife)”, would there be enough evidence to find you guilty as charged?

Father, in our humanness, we often forget that You designed us… and who better than You to guide us how best to live as husband and wife. Lord, soften our hearts to adopt Your way as the only way to live this life in relationship as husbands and wives, so that our actions towards one another are a tangible expression of You living within us. Amen!

Greg (gstefanelli)

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Filed under 1 Peter, 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ecclesiastes, Ephesians, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan

1 Samuel 23-24; 1 Chronicles 6; Psalm 54; Acts 16

15David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph. He was afraid because Saul was coming to kill him. 16But Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh. He helped David have stronger faith in God. 17Jonathan told him, “Don’t be afraid. My father won’t touch you. You will become king of Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.” 18The two of them made an agreement before the Lord. Then Jonathan went home. But David stayed at Horesh. 1 Samuel 23:15-18 (ICB)

Godly friendships help me have stronger faith in God.

Humans were created for relationship, companionship. We were created to interact, connect. We were designed to offer strength and encouragement in moments of others’ weaknesses and receive the same when weakened.

When David was struggling, pursued by a king who wanted him dead, his friend Jonathon stepped in to bolster David’s faith – faith that he’d been called, that he’d become the king as anointed, that he wouldn’t be slain by Saul. He encouraged him with the truth to continue on in the journey that had been set before him with courage and strength and without doubts to sway him.

When I am feeling beat down by life, doubting my worth, wondering if anyone, even God, cares about my struggles, I am blessed to have people in my life who pour into me, who find the gold buried deep within my self. I am blessed to have people who encourage me and lift me up when I can barely stand on my own two feet. I am blessed to have people who can see the truth when I am blinded by the lies. I am blessed with kind words, gentle hugs, meaningful gifts, servant hearts, a meal, a conversation over a cup of coffee, and so on.

I’m not sure how I could survive this journey without the amazing people who have been put in my life by the God who created me. I am not sure how I’d make it through motherhood without the Titus 2 women who are walking this journey alongside of me. I am grateful for the friends I’ve had for a few short days and the friends I’ve know for 30 years or more. I am grateful for the friends I have who are like Jonathon and strengthen my faith in God.

Yesappa, Thank You for being my friend forever and thank You for placing godly people in my life to walk alongside me in my journey whether fora  season or for a lifetime. Help me also be like Jonathon to the people around me. Help me be an encouragement to those who are struggling, that I may in turn help their faith in you to grow stronger. In Jesus’ name. Amen.




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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

1 Samuel 21-22; 1 Chronicles 15; Psalm 52; Acts 15

So David escaped from Saul and went to King Achish of Gath. But the officers of Achish were unhappy about his being there. “Isn’t this David, the king of the land?” they asked. “Isn’t he the one the people honor with dances, singing, ‘Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” David heard these comments and was very afraid of what King Achish of Gath might do to him. So he pretended to be insane, scratching on doors and drooling down his beard.” 1 Samuel 21:10-13 NLT

I see David in his weakness.  Pretending… taking his focus off of God.

Later David went to Mizpeh in Moab, where he asked the king, “Please allow my father and mother to live here with you until I know what God is going to do for me.” So David’s parents stayed in Moab with the king during the entire time David was living in his stronghold. One day the prophet Gad told David, “Leave the stronghold and return to the land of Judah.” So David went to the forest of Hereth. 1 Samuel 22:3-5 NLT

David seemed to be relying on his own strength and fleeing to his stronghold out of fear. He waited to see what God would do next, instead of trusting him in the process. He was hesitant to step out in faith, before he could see the bigger picture. How many times have I done the same thing? Instead of saying, “God, I trust you,” I try to figure it out on my own. But, sometimes I rush ahead of his plans, when I really need to wait on him and his timing.

They cried out to God during the battle, and he answered their prayer because they trusted in him.” 1 Chronicles 5:20 NLT

I am reminded that he is always working, even when I can’t see it. I need to be fervent in prayer.

Afterward I will return and restore the fallen house of David. I will rebuild and restore it so that the rest of humanity might seek the Lord.” Acts 15:16&17 NLT

Dear Father, help me to trust you in the midst of whatever life brings.  Relying on your power and not my own. Give me discernment to know when you are leading me or telling me to wait. But, help me to remember that you can use me in my weakness. Amen.

But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love. I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will trust in your good name in the presence of your faithful people” Psalm 52:8-9 NLT


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

Reading the bible is sometimes very challenging for me. “What are you trying to tell me Lord?” I ask Him when I read chapters like 1 Chronicles 1 which includes a very long list of genealogy.   Just so I understood what I was reading, I looked up the word “chronicle.”  According to, it is “a record or register of events in chronological order.”  So begins the names of people that God wanted recorded—from Noah, after the flood, through the descendants of Abraham.   Some of the names I recognized; most I did not.  It is interesting how there will be many names, then someone will have a detail about their life, then there will be many names again.

Then, I get to read chapters like 1 Samuel 15 and 16. This is exciting stuff!  We learn about Saul and his fall from power because of his disobedience to God.  He was told by God to totally destroy the Amalekites and all that belongs to them—everything!  So Saul goes to battle but spares the life of Agag, the king, and the best of the sheep and cattle, in defiance to the command of God to destroy everything.  The LORD is grieved that He ever made Saul king and rejects him as King over Israel.  12 Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, “Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal.”  Not only did he disobey God, he is setting up monuments to himself!! So God sends Samuel to anoint another king, to the home of Jesse.  There he chooses David, the youngest of the sons, who was out tending the sheep, and anoints him King of Israel.  This has happened unbeknownst to Saul.

The next part couldn’t have been written better by the best playwright! Because the Lord has taken the Spirit of the LORD from Saul, an evil spirit started tormenting him (sent by God).  His servant suggests that listening to a lyre, someone playing music, will make him feel better.  Does he know of anyone, asks the King?  Lo and behold, it is the son of Jesse, someone people know as having the Lord with him.  So David, future king, comes to live in the palace with Saul, present king.  23 Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.  God planned this in order to get David into the palace.  He divinely orchestrated this malady to put the right person in the right place at the right time.

There is an occasion when I saw God do just that in the life of a friend. The details of what had to occur to get the right people in the right place at the right time were a majestic work of God!  I got to watch it unfold as He moved the players around until He had them in just the right places.  Through this came restoration of a family that had been torn apart for years.  Father and daughter reunited; Grandfather meeting grandchildren for the first time; sisters and half-sisters joyfully reappearing in each other’s lives after almost an entire lifetime of separation.  I am still moved to tears when I think of how He worked this all out.  There is nothing too big for God or too small of a detail for Him.  He is Lord of everything!  He can cause a royal headache if He is so inclined to use it for His glory!

Heavenly Father: Your Word has meaning for us from names in a genealogical list to exciting stories of the heroes in the bible. It all shows that nothing can stop your plans for us.  You will move heaven and earth to accomplish Your will.  Oh how mighty You are; oh how amazing are your works.  You created the details, so why should we worry? Lord, the goodness you show towards us overwhelms me at times.  Thank you for loving us so much!

Cindy (gardnlady)

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1 Samuel 3-5; Psalm 23; Acts 6

1The boy Samuel served the Lord under Eli. In those days the Lord did not speak directly to people very often. There were very few visions.

2Eli’s eyes were so weak he was almost blind. One night he was lying in bed. 3Samuel was also in bed in the Lord’s Holy Tent. The Ark of the Covenant was in the Holy Tent. God’s lamp was still burning.

4Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “I am here!” 5He ran to Eli and said, “I am here. You called me.”

But Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.” So Samuel went back to bed.

6The Lord called again, “Samuel!”

Samuel again went to Eli and said, “I am here. You called me.”

Again Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.”

7Samuel did not yet know the Lord. The Lord had not spoken directly to him yet.

8The Lord called Samuel for the third time. Samuel got up and went to Eli. He said, “I am here. You called me.”

Then Eli realized the Lord was calling the boy. 9So he told Samuel, “Go to bed. If he calls you again, say, ‘Speak, Lord. I am your servant, and I am listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in bed.

10The Lord came and stood there. He called as he had before. He said, “Samuel, Samuel!”

Samuel said, “Speak, Lord. I am your servant, and I am listening.” 1 Samuel 3:1-10

How do I hear God’s voice?

I think at times I hoped for the deep, imposing Charlton Heston-voiced God from the Moses movie – something recognizable as a supreme being. I’ve never heard that voice.

The voice that I hear, sounds more like my own voice, echoing in the chambers of my mind and my heart. I know it’s not me because the words spoken are much kinder and more loving, inspired and not exhausted. The voice of God, still, quiet, and yet with full authority, meets me exactly where I am in any given moment, in a way that I am able to understand, in a way that is relevant, relatable, authentic. Whether resonating through the words of the Bible, a worship song, the encouragement of a friend, or the urging of Holy Spirit, everything that is spoken is borne of truth and brings light into the darkness.

I know that it’s God the same way I know that it’s my husband, my mom, my sister, my friend…when they call me on the phone and the way I know which one of my kids is yelling for me from the other room. I recognize His voice. When I meet someone new, I won’t know her voice if she calls me; she would have to introduce herself on the phone. But as I get to know her, I’ll hear her voice and I’ll know who is calling without needing an introduction. It may take some time, but my brain will make the connections, just as my heart recognizes the connection to my Creator.

Sometimes I go through seasons where I feel like I don’t hear much of His voice. Life is too loud around me and I struggle to quiet my spirit enough to discern God’s voice through the cacophony of running to and fro, children bickering and screaming their “Mommy! Mommy!”, never-ending to-do lists, piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and on and on. It’s difficult to find chunks of silence on any given day and at most I may only find a moment here or there.

I am learning that when I “can’t” hear His voice, it’s time be intentional, to ask Him. It’s a chance to purposely set aside a few, fleeting minutes to ask, “What do You want to tell me? What do You have to say?” And, then stop talking, and listen.

Yesappa, open my ears to hear, quiet my spirit to listen. Amen.

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1 Samuel 1-2; Psalm 120; Acts 5

Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you.” 1 Samuel 1:10 NLT

I can relate to Hannah’s desire to have a child. After having two miscarriages we had a healthy baby boy. I remember making dinner the night before my sonogram. Praying for good results, while listening to the song, More than Enough. I desperately wanted everything to be fine, but I was claiming to myself that no matter what happened…Jesus was more than enough. And he would carry me through, like he already had.

I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord. I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Then Hannah prayed: “My heart rejoices in the Lord! The Lord has made me strong. Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me. No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God…He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, placing them in seats of honor. For all the earth is the Lord’s, and he has set the world in order.” 1 Samuel 1-2 NLT

As I think back, I am grateful for his hand in the trials in my life. This song, “All of have in you, is more than enough,” still rings true today. “You are my supply, my breath of life.” Sometimes my prayers were for a changed heart. Maybe God was using them to change mine. To show me that my helper, the Holy Spirit was with me all along. Helping me to remember his faithfulness, when I would forget. Guiding me what to pray, when I couldn’t pray anymore.

But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than human authority. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging on the cross. Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.” Acts 5:29-32 NLT

Father, I pray the I would continue to let your Holy Spirit work in me. I pray that I wouldn’t be held back by fear or doubt. Thank you for your faithfulness in my life. Amen.

I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer.” Psalm 120:1 NLT


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1 Samuel 30-31; 1 Chronicles 10; Acts 20

But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24

The end of a ministry year can be exciting. Looking back at the results, the numbers, the growth, the testimonies, the heart change. But, more often than not, ministry is just hard work. This chapter in Acts talks of Paul’s journeys, coming here, going there, travel arrangements, visits, speaking, preaching, seeking God’s direction, pressing on. It’s not all conversions and miracles (although he certainly saw his share of those), it is mostly the daily grind of faithfully sharing the gospel and living out God’s grace to those we are doing life with.

Even in Old Testament days, Saul and David spent much of their lives on the battle field or strategic planning. In the end, both died with successes and failures in their record.

From a human perspective, we’ll win some and we’ll lose some, but that isn’t really what matters. Did we stay on course? Did we fulfill the ministry that Christ laid out for us? Did we testify about the gospel? Or, did we hold our life too dear? Saul’s life left a tragic history of missed opportunities, of walking by his flesh. David chose a better path, seeking God’s wisdom more consistently.

As I set my priorities, my schedule, my commitments, I need to consider my life as nothing to give it up to the One who gave all for me. Even as I consider if my giving is of value I need to look with eyes of faith. Not numbers and physical results, but all poured out in worship to Him. The results are in His hands, my job is just to be faithful.

Lord, help me to trust You with the outcome, to faithfully serve every day, every week regardless of how fun or rewarding it might or might not be. Give me eyes of faith to see You at work in the mundane, to see the little miracles You constantly perform all around me. Thank you for faithfully using me and opening my eyes to the opportunities around every corner. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)


Filed under 1 Chronicles, 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan