Tag Archives: 1 Samuel

1 Samuel 26-27; 1 Chronicles 8; Acts 18

My friend John is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. He fled his village at the tender age of 7 and has been separated from his remaining family for over 20 years. He is now a US citizen, but every day he wakes up and Sudan is on his mind. His father is a Sudanese pastor who refuses to leave his congregation, and as a consequence, goes into hiding when the conflict swallows his village. Every time I see John, he gives me the latest news from the Sudan. I can not fathom how he deals with the daily not knowing the ending to his family and his country’s story.

“So on that day Achish gave him Ziklag, and it has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since. David lived in Philistine territory a year and four months.” 1 Samuel 27:6-7.

John’s life provides a glimpse of what it must have been like for David. I read through these Bible stories and easily forget that the people involved didn’t have the advantage of knowing the ending. David woke up every morning with a longing for home and an uncertainty about his circumstances.

“But David said to Abishai, ‘Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless?…But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed.'” 1 Samuel 26:9…11.

When given the opportunity to end to his misery by taking Saul’s life, David refuses.  His companion, Abishai must have thought him mad to pass up such a golden moment.

Paul, like David remained faithful in the face of great opposition. There was no guarantee that he would see God triumph in the regular opposition he faced. Both men refused to see their lives through the lens of ordinary human understanding and emotion. They held tight to the faith that God held not only their lives, but the very course of history in His hands.

Lord, like my friend John, allow me to see the future with the eyes of David and Paul. We long for the peace and safety that can only be found in you. May we, by the power of the Holy Spirit look to you and know that you are our only hope. Keep us from dwelling on the forces that threaten to overwhelm, but train our eyes on you and your saving grace. Amen

Klueh

 

 

 

 

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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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1Samuel 9-10; Acts 8

How I view myself can obscure how I see God. It’s not much different from holding up my hand to block the sun. My puny little hand is powerless to change the immensity and force of the sun, but attempting to block it out keeps my vision on that which is closest to me. When I focus on myself, and my abilities, I fool myself into thinking that the God who made me and continues to provide my next breath is unaware who He is dealing with or my circumstances.

And there hides Saul in the baggage, God’s chosen king over Israel, quaking with fear and trying to hide from his calling. It’s as if he is back in the Garden with Adam thinking that he can hide from God. But haven’t I done the same when I have thought that God was incapable of using the likes of me to help establish his kingdom here on earth?

Another dangerous paradigm can take place; it happens if I adopt Simon the Sorcerer’s thinking that personal influence and resources might allow access and control of the mysterious and untamed work of the Holy Spirit. It’s a heart full of “bitterness and captive to sin” ( Acts 8:23) that gives birth to this falsehood. It gives rise to a prosperity theology that robs so many of true joy and wonder.

I may take Saul’s view and think that personal fear and weakness are greater than God’s power or I may join Simon and think that I can somehow control the very Spirit of God. Both lies shrivel and die in the light of God’s grace. When  I stop thinking about ME and dwell on the wonder of God and who He is, I see beautiful things happen in some of the most unexpected places. Our God, is the one who delights in surprising and amazing us with who He is and what He can do.  True freedom and the abundant life are found in the unobscured light of God’s love.

Lord, give me the grace to get out of my own way when it comes to following you, who loves me ever so fiercely. I love you in all your mercy, grace and beauty. Thank you for all that you are.

Klueh

 

 

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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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2 Samuel 11-12; 1 Chronicles 20; Psalms 51, 32; Acts 27

 The lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.

I will advise you and watch over you.

Do not be like a senseless horse or mule

that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.” Psalm 32:8-9

Parenting is NOT for the faint of heart!

Yesterday was one of the scariest days of my life. I could not find my 4 year old daughter anywhere. She disappeared while she was playing outside in the few minutes that I went inside to take care of my dog poop/mud-covered 2 ½ year old. For more than an hour, I (along with other friends, family, and even people I didn’t know) searched around 6+ acres of property, inside houses and out, for more than an hour before she was found.

The police finally found her in our upstairs neighbor’s apartment hiding in her friend’s room, playing with toys; they were gone for the day, but the door had been left unlocked and she went right in not caring if anyone was home or not. I noticed the door open and had searched the apartment 3 times and my mom searched once, each of us calling for her to say ‘I’m here’, telling her that we weren’t playing a game of hide and seek and we just wanted to see her face, but we never saw her. My daughter told me later that she didn’t respond because she didn’t want to stop playing.

I think I felt every imaginable emotion and thought of every possible (horrible) scenario, and as much as I felt like yelling and screaming at her, once she was found, I also just wanted to hold her for as long as possible because she was safe!

I ended up waiting to talk to her about what had happened until I knew I had better control over myself. I felt like if I lost self-control, I would also lose a teachable moment.

As I began processing how I would talk with her about it, I thought about how in my own life there have been so many moments like this – times when I’ve ignored what I knew was ‘right’ to get my own way.

And yet, God has never ‘lost it’ with me, He lovingly guides me to better understanding. He gives me counsel and watches over me until I am able to make good choices. He gives me freedom to learn how to manage myself.

As I strive to parent as effectively as possible, I need to continue to imitate my Heavenly Father as He parents me, allowing me to make bad choices, and trusting in His goodness and love to lead me with His eye.

Yesappa, Help me have Your guiding eyes that offer true freedom! In Jesus’ name.Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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1 Samuel 25; 1 Chronicles 7; Acts 17

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Acts 17:11

When I began my journey with the Lord, rather than going deep into scripture myself, I relied heavily on the studies of the pastors in my life. I listened to their words and gained understanding through their revelations.

I had a desire to go deeper, but I wasn’t sure how and I was overwhelmed by not knowing where to start. I would try to read the Bible, but I had a difficult time understanding. The verses that I read often were just writings on a page that translated into a jumble in my brain and would more often than not lure me into sleep.

When I was in ministry school, I encountered so many amazing teachers and one in particular broke open the flood gates to my desire to search the scripture in a new and revelatory way. My homework every night during this particular class was to read the book of Galatians in a different translation. I was encouraged to read beyond the standard versions that can easily be purchased at a local Christian book store.

I grew up with the New International Version and many people I had encountered held to the belief that the King James Version was the ‘true’ Bible. At first I didn’t understand why I would need to read so many versions. It seemed like wasted time, because I figured they would all just be saying the same thing. But as I read through, I was amazed at how similar and yet how different many of the versions were. I came to realize that the value in studying the Word in different translations was found in the opening of the eyes of my heart to better understanding and a desire to delve into the meanings of the Words He spoke.

As I read one translation, if I didn’t understand something – a word, a concept, the history, etc. – I’d look to another translation to help me piece meaning together. If something differed, curiosity sent me to a Greek or Hebrew interlinear Bible and usually also to the Strong’s Concordance to help me understand the original meaning better.

As I have continued to study this way, God has become more and more real to me; His Rhema Word bringing life to the dry bones of my soul. My mind has expanded to better recognize and understand and every time I open the scriptures He reveals more of His truth, His promises, His revelations to my heart.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your Word, Your Truth. Thank You for giving me scripture to chew on like meat so that I can grow and learn as I search for You and as I search for understanding of truth. Open my eyes, open my mind, open my heart to the revelations You’ve prepared for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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1 Samuel 6-8; Acts 7

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”

Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.

As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died. Acts 7:55-60

Having children instantly inducted me into the huge group of women who have motherhood in common. In theory, that would mean that everyone gets along and walks the journey together, side-by-side, the more experienced giving encouragement to the newer ‘members’. But more often than not, as a mom, I am inevitably drawn into the ‘mommy wars’ – to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, breast milk or formula, crib or co-sleep, no cry or cry it out, conventional parenting or attachment parenting, control or free range, traditional school or homeschool, stay-at-home or work, and the list goes on.

As I have parented, I have had to make choices about what I feel is best for me and my family. Sometimes my decisions are met with acceptance and support from the other people around me, and sometimes my ideas differ and I am criticized for my philosophies.

Like most people, I tend to align myself with other mothers who are like-minded, allowing for harmony and a safety net for being real with each other. However, without intending to be impolite or provoking, sometimes the truth of my own experience is offensive to others. There have been quite a few times that I have been ridiculed, condemned by the ‘judge and jury’ because my parenting methods were different from ‘theirs’, because of dissimilar attitudes, diverse cultures, or generation gaps.

One particular instance, when I was figuratively stoned for a parenting choice, I did a lot of soul searching afterward. My heart was broken because I was already questioning my value and worth as a mother; I had been struggling a lot with typical 2-3’s disciplinary issues and I was feeling low and defeated. Over time I have realized that there are moments that I have to choose my battles with my kids to be an effective parent, but the issue I chose to ignore on that day brought an onslaught of verbal ‘rocks’. I was so caught off guard that I didn’t have time to get defensive, and I believe that was a God-send.

The Lord showed me facets to the barrage that enabled me to have better grasp of the situation and of the person behind it. He showed me the importance of forgiveness and helped me release the insult, no longer holding the ‘sin’ of misunderstanding against someone I care for. He filled my spirit with peace and I was able to let go of the offense.

I’ll admit that in the past, I’ve gotten caught up in a skirmish or two, a volley of metaphorical stones. But, I know now that I cannot forget that we are all really on the same team –a force of people who love our children. I will stand strong in my beliefs, my own history of parenting. But, it is important to resist the temptation to battle, and instead do everything I am able to forgive and offer grace to those who disagree, with my primary goal being connection – to God, other parents, and to my children respectively.

Yesappa, Thank You for giving me the opportunity to be a mother. Thank You for leading me through this journey of motherhood; and thank You for giving me opportunities to learn how to stay connected and forgiving, even when people don’t agree with my decisions in parenting. Help me continue to see each situation through the eyes of Your compassionate heart and give me wisdom in my interactions. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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