Tag Archives: 1 Samuel

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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1 Samuel 27-29; Luke 17:1-19

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” Luke 1:3-4

Unforgiveness breeds contempt and bitterness. It breaks down families, destroys friendships. It causes stress, anxiety, depression, and even illness.

Jesus tells me that if a brother sins against me, and repents, I am to forgive him, even if he sins over and over and over again.

Forgiveness is what reopens the door to relationship. It is what ushers in reconciliation and redemption. Forgiveness is what allows me to be enveloped into God’s family.

In the past, I looked at forgiveness as letting a person off the hook for hurting me. I thought that withholding forgiveness would make them somehow feel guilt or shame, feel sorry for what they did; that maybe it would make them suffer like I did. I thought that not forgiving would help me control the situation and protect myself.

But I was mistaken. Forgiveness isn’t as much for the person who hurt me as it is for me. When I forgive someone, whether they are still in my life or not, I am taking myself out of the position of judge, jury, and executioner. I’m not letting them off the hook; I’m turning them over to God to deal with. When I forgive, I take away their ability to control, to manipulate, to harm (even when they don’t realize they had that power). When I forgive, I am obeying Christ and following His example. I am reestablishing connection in my heart, allowing healing and inviting in renewal.

It has taken me a while to get to the place where I am able to actively forgive, having come to the understanding that often forgiveness is based on my will, a desire to not walk in sin than a feeling that I have. It can seem so much easier sometimes to hold onto the anger, to feel justified in wallowing in the hurt. Sometimes it takes a moment and sometimes it takes much longer, but I’ve realized that when I say those simple words ‘I forgive you’, out loud or in my heart, it brings freedom.

Jesus didn’t tell me to forgive because it is easy. He told me to forgive because he knows that what I sow I will also reap. When I make the active choice to offer forgiveness seventy times seven, I will in turn be offered the same through Him.

Resurrection weekend is a time to remember what Christ did for me out of mercy, out of forgiveness. It is a time for me to remember His ultimate sacrifice that made it possible for me to forgive and for me to be forgiven. His death and resurrection made it possible for offense to go into the grave and stay there forever. His act of will helps me to choose love through forgiveness.

Yesappa, thank You for Your love, Your mercy, and Your forgiveness today and always. Thank You for Your sacrifice that allows me to bury offense and live in freedom. Thank You for reminding me that the measure I forgive, is the measure in which I am forgiven. Lord, if there is any place of unforgiveness in my heart, please reveal it to me, and help me release it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

 

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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1 Samuel 10, 11, 12; Luke 13:22-34

Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its clans, and the clan of the Matrites was taken by lot; and Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. So they inquired again of the Lord, “Is there a man still to come?” and the Lord said, “Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage.” Then they ran and took him from there. And when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 1 Samuel 10:20-23

I think that God shows me small pieces of His plans for me because seeing the ‘Big Picture’ would be too overwhelming. Little glimpses are all I can handle, tiny leaps of faith, one step at a time. If I look too far ahead, I get scared thinking about the enormity of the task set before me.

I think that is what Saul was going through…he was just anointed king of Israel by Samuel. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he began prophesying with a group of prophets. God gave him a new heart and he’s become a different man. The people are talking behind his back, wondering what has happened to him, questioning the changes. And then before the whole of Israel, tribe by tribe, family by family, man by man God reveals His chosen as Saul.

Saul hid himself from the people; and he tried to hide from God. He hid from the job for which he’d been anointed and the pressures that would come from being the leader. It didn’t matter that God hand picked him. It didn’t matter that he was a big man. It didn’t matter that he had talents and skills. He was scared at the undertaking he’d been given.

So often I am anxious about my calling and what it entails. Am I good enough? Do I have the skills that are needed? Do I have the courage, the strength, the resources? Am I really the best person for the job?

And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. 1 Samuel 12:20-22

God’s Word shares many times over that the Lord will never leave me nor forsake me, because He has chosen me. He has chosen me to be His, chosen me to serve Him. God chose me, and I suppose that does mean I am the right person for the assignment. He will supply my needs and provide resources. He will teach me the skills and give me the talents. He will give me courage. He will strengthen me.

He does not call the equipped; He equips the called.

I need not be afraid; I need not hide. I only need to follow Him and serve Him with my whole heart. I need to trust in His power, in His faithfulness, and in His goodness. I need to focus on His face, on what He has accomplished and not look to the right or to the left at things that distract me and make me susceptible to attacks from the enemy.

Yesappa, help me rise above the fear and keep my eyes on You through the journey of my life. Equip me and strengthen me, give me Your grace for every task You have for me. Help me never hide my light beneath a bushel. Thank You for shining through me for Your name’s sake. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

 

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament

1 Samuel 27; 1 Corinthians 8; Ezekiel 6; Psalm 44

…We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions—but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds. We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows it all. (MSG)

…Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes. (NLT)

…We know that “we all have knowledge.” Knowledge puffs you up with pride, but love builds up. If you think you know something, you do not yet know anything as you should. But if any person loves God, that person is known by God. (NCV)

1 Corinthians 8:1b-3

Right now God is working on my heart in the area of “love”; not in the romantic sense (eros), not even in the brotherly sense (philos), but in the agape, unconditional, freely given, never changing sense.

What does it mean to love God? What does it mean to love my husband? My children? My friends? My enemies?…

I am learning that it is vital for ALL of my relationships for me to focus on love. Loving with intention. Loving without reservation. Loving whole-heartedly. My goal must be to always seek to ‘keep my love on’.

I am learning that love is transformative. That when I love without inhibition, real freedom is established and my relationships flourish – I am free to be who I am. You are free to be who you are. Even when we don’t see eye to eye. Even when we have different opinions, different revelations, different ways of living life.

But be careful that your freedom does not cause those who are weak in faith to fall into sin. (NCV)

Only be careful that this power of choice (this permission and liberty to do as you please) which is yours, does not [somehow] become a hindrance (cause of stumbling) to the weak or overscrupulous [giving them an impulse to sin]. (AMP)

But God does care when you use your freedom carelessly in a way that leads a fellow believer still vulnerable to those old associations to be thrown off track. (MSG)

1 Corinthians 8:9

I am learning that when I make the conscious choice to love above all else, the enemy tempts me to fall into old patterns of pride, anger, fear, and lack of self-control, perverting liberty with bad attitude, with a ‘holier than thou’ outlook.

I easily fall back into believing that I am right, believing that my way is the only way. I substitute true freedom given by God, for captivity. I forfeit true love for my ‘right’ to live in the distorted ‘freedoms’ of my own understanding. My ‘entitlement’ to do what I want to do, how I want to do it, becomes a hindrance for others. My sin causes others to sin. Not only did I get off the path of love, I also risk pulling others off with me. I withdraw into my own little world, separating myself from the things I most desire.

I am learning that breaking those old molds means going back to the Cross. It means putting my focus back on God’s love (John 3:16). It means obeying His commands – to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind; to love my husband, children, friends, and enemies as I love myself (Matthew 22:35-40). It means to love on purpose, to abide in a culture of honor.

I am learning that living IN love is a process. And, some days it is easy…

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms