Tag Archives: Saul

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 9-10; Acts 8

Maybe it’s a reading about two Sauls. Old Testament Saul was looking for lost donkeys. Instead, he finds a seer who singles him out as the man who will lead. That Saul didn’t expect it.

21 Saul replied, “But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe! Why are you talking like this to me?” 1 Samuel 9:21, NLT.

New Testament Saul was on a mission to destroy.

But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison. Acts 8:3, NLT.

Both Sauls will eventually lead, and it’s in these beginnings where the glimpse is caught about who they were before God changes everything. These men weren’t even looking for change–one was looking for donkeys, another was looking to punish.

Maybe it’s a reading about changed hearts.

“When you arrive at Gibeah of God, where the garrison of the Philistines is located, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the place of worship. They will be playing a harp, a tambourine, a flute, and a lyre, and they will be prophesying. At that time the Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person. 1 Samuel 10:5-6, NLT.

As Saul turned and started to leave, God gave him a new heart, and all Samuel’s signs were fulfilled that day. 1 Samuel 10:9, NLT.

26 When Saul returned to his home at Gibeah, a group of men whose hearts God had touched went with him. 1 Samuel 10:26, NLT.

But it’s definitely a testament of God’s power.

But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. Acts 8:4, NLT.

12 But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized. Acts 8:12, NLT.

Unexpected places; least expected people; in the midst of persecution, scattering, and feeling that everything is falling apart–God is there.

Lord, sometimes I give up on people–for changes that are unreliable, hearts that are hard as rocks, people on paths heading away from you. If it was only in their power, or my power, we are lost. But your power is the kind that changes everything. Help me to always look for you, because you’re there.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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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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Micah 6, Micah 7, Acts 22

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?  Micah 6:8

 Do not trust in a friend; Do not put your confidence in a companion; A man’s enemies are the men of his own household. Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. Micah 5-7

 A great light from heaven shone around me. And heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’   Acts 22:6-8

Read at – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Micah%206,7;%20Acts%2022&version=NKJV

 Micah 6          “the Lord … will contend” –  “O My people, what have I done to you?  And how have I wearied you? Testify against Me.” – I redeemed you from the house of bondage; That you may know the righteousness of the Lord.”

            Lord God, Maker of the Universe, You are SO Humble!! You are forever nominating Yourself, challenging us to turn to You, the One Who Loves us the Best. You are relentless to me and others, not to let us get more deceived, blind and side tracked away living an Eternal Life with You here and now. 1

The Lord’s voice cries, Hear the rod! Deceitful weights? Spoken lies, Therefore I will also make you sick, making you desolate because of your sins. You shall sow, but not reap.   Micah 6

             You go through greatest lengths to have me “come to my senses”. Lord Jesus, you don’t quit pursuing, even to bring me to the end of myself to realize You are already there waiting for my surrender with Your open arms!! Luke 15:11-32 

Micah 7          Woe is me!  The faithful man has perished from the earth, And there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; … successfully do evil with both hands— The prince asks for gifts, The judge seeks a bribe, And the great man utters his evil desire; So they scheme together. Do not trust in a friend; Do not put your confidence in a companion; A man’s enemies are the men of his own household. 

              Lord, I am in great turmoil. The person I trusted is not trustworthy. The lies and deceit are severe. The effect on my trusting any person is great. Woe is me. My heart is undone. I cannot approach them because of their wrath and defensive posture for revenge. Only You are the God of my salvation in Whom I place my trust.

             Where am I to go when I am betrayed? To You, Lord Jesus Who Never betrays anyone. To my Damascus Road so many years ago and no farther. Great Joy bubbles up by Your Holy Spirit as I consider Your Love and Faithfulness, my LORD. You encountered me that day undeniably Lord Jesus! And You have continued to tangibly affect my life daily since. Oh, The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy.” Psalm 111:7  2

             Father, Your Scriptures are True and Sound; The Sure Rock for my feet, my Reference Point for action, my sole/soul Foundation. The entirety of Your word is truth”Psalm 119:160

             How may I serve one who lies to me? The one who is entrusted into my care, for me to love them in Truth? Lord Jesus, Your Word tells me what to do and how to do it. I will encase myself in Your heart and thoughts to shut out all else. I will love You above all, so that You can bless others without me being a people pleaser. 3 

Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. Micah 7

Acts 22           Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid,

              Saul said, I “taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, …, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.. And when the blood of martyr Stephen was shed, I was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.” Acts 22  Saul was a Religious Terrorist, a hunter and murderer of people who followed Jesus Christ.  

            NO SIN, not murder, blasphemy, lying, cheating, adultery, beating, raping, stealing, mocking or worse IS BEYOND the Hope of the sin-removing Atonement Blood of Jesus Christ. No person is beyond the reach of Almighty God through His Son Jesus Christ.  The only person who can block God from forgiving AND removing sin and evil in my own heart and mind is me. The same is for true for you, dear Reader.  4

            If You can save me from the just eternal punishment that I deserve for offending You, Holy God, and also continue the Good work You began in me to bring to completion verse – and fulfill what You have planned for me from the beginning – Then, Lord God please do it for everyone who lies, deceives, and destroys. Dear Reader, please take the step of faith and hope needed for Your life to change and have purpose for eternity with the True Living God.  5

            May the one who betrayed me be renewed in mind and repent in their heart to You, my King. May they testify: When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord,  Because I have sinned against Him, Until He pleads my case And executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness.  Micah 7

Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea. You will give truth to Jacob And mercy to Abraham, Which You have sworn to our fathers From days of old. Micah 7

The painful effect of someone’s sin on me is Great, dear Father. I shelter myself in Your Truth and Promises!! Alert me to the pain which my sins cause other people, near and far, so I will not sin. Amen Psalm 51

Bible Insights –

1-  Genesis 1; Job 38-42; John 3:15-16; John 4:13-26; Matthew 19:29; John 10:28; John 17:3; Romans 6:23,

2- Psalm 41:9; John 13:21; Luke 22:47-48

3 – Matthew 10:32-39, John 15, Romans12:1-2, Colossians3:23-24  

4 – Isaiah 59:1; John 3:5-21; John 14:6; Matthew 12:15-21; Genesis 22:1-19; Exodus 12:1-30; John 1:29; John 3:15-16; Hebrews 9:11-28

5 Revelation 21:8; Romans 1:18-2:16; Psalm 51; 1 Peter 1:23; Philippians 1:6; Ephesians 2:10; John 8:44; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 12:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17; John 3:3-21; John 4:1-42; Matthew 4:19; John 15; Psalm 1

Crystal (PsalmThirty4) 

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1 Samuel 13-14, Luke 19:28-48

Saul was 30 years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel 42 years. 1 Samuel 13:1

“You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command. 1 Samuel 13:13-14

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Luke 19:38

Two Kings

Saul was 30 when he became king, yet so reluctant to rule, at first he hid behind baggage. He chose 3000 men from Israel. Saul provoked his enemies, literally tooted his own horn to get the glory for his exploits. Later he plotted to kill David when his fame surpassed his own. Eventually his arrogance would lead him to lose his rule to David. God promised David that his reign would never end.

Jesus, a king incognito, was 30 when he began his ministry. He chose 12 apostles. Jesus insisted God be given the glory, when he cast out demons and healed the sick. At the end of his three year ministry, he rode intoJerusalem on a donkey. The crowds declared his praise, but the religious establishment sought the death of this Messiah they refused to acknowledge.  Even a rolled away stone would testify to a risen Savior.

From the lineage of David, Jesus, fulfilled God’s prophecy. Saul’s kingdom did not endure. Christ’s kingdom endures forever.

I’m more like than Saul than Jesus. Consulting God sometimes, doing what feels right the rest of the time. Relying on my own strength for the “small stuff” which I never realize will snowball into big stuff. Eventually losing reign over my own little kingdom.

If King Saul can’t escape Samuel’s reprimand, what makes me think I can get away with entitlement befitting a princess? The Holy Spirit takes me to the woodshed repeatedly. Jesus took all the punishment for my sins on the cross, but I still need to put into action God’s saving work in my life, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. Phil 2:12 NLT

Father, forgive me, for most of the time I know not what I am doing.

yicareggie

 

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Genesis 9,10; Matthew 9; Ezra 9; Acts 9

“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.  Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.”  (Acts 9:1-3  ESV)

WHAM!

He never sees it coming.

Saul races to Damascus with blood on his hands, hatred in his heart.  Those vile followers of the Way are a threat to his religion, and he is going to put an end to it, one city at a time.  Suddenly the full Glory of Christ is unleashed.  Instant disorientation.   Mind reeling in confusion.   Eyes screaming for relief.  Balance lost.  Gravity wins.  He hits the ground in a heap, eyes and mouth full of dust, squinting and shielding his eyes from a light only he can see, listening to a voice of which only he knows the source.   He might know all there is to know about his religion, but he is just beginning to understand how little he knows about his God. He’ll master theology some time later, but the renewal of his mind starts now.

He picks himself up, not bothering to dust himself off.  The light is gone; he can’t see a thing.  He allows his companions to assist him with the rest of the journey.   I suspect his mind still reels.

He leaves blinded, but for the first time truly seeing.

His destination hasn’t changed, but his purpose has.

He’s still on the road to Damascus, and now he is on the Way.

Two millennia pass.

I grew up in a church that subtlety cast doubt on the Bible.  I also grew well versed in science.  Scientists are smart people, and what they had learned started troubling me.   The history of earth taught in Sunday school was conflicting with what I was learning in Monday school.  My Sunday school teacher explained that the Genesis ‘days’ were actually eras.  Voila!  Another theistic evolutionist was born.

2003.  I was saved by now, but kept the Bible at arm’s length.   A friend mentioned his beliefs that dinosaurs lived with humans, the plain history of Genesis being true, and such.  I was horrified to learn my friend was a closet lunatic.  Soon after, I stumbled onto an article containing the same claims.  I followed a link to the author’s ministry hoping to discern why some believed the preposterous.  There I was challenged with reasoned arguments concerning the identity of Cain’s wife and how men could live nearly 1000 years.   Intrigued, I started reading an article defending the truth of a global flood.

A sentence halfway through triggered it.  I felt the hand of the Holy Spirit smacking my forehead.   I heard the sound of a window blind disengaged and released, retracting and flapping around in rapid circles at the end of its run.   Divine light burst through. I struggled against the vertigo that comes when one’s worldview is instantaneously upended.  Voila!  A theistic evolutionist and his doubts died, and a man who trusted the plain meaning of the Bible’s every word was born.   Paul’s Damascus adventure was the first scripture that came to my mind.

We serve a God who reveals.

  • God reveals truth through what He has made (Romans 1:20).
  • God reveals through what He has written (2 Timothy 3:16).
  • God reveals through His answers to prayers.
  • God reveals through direct intervention, granting instant, unforgettable infusions of wisdom and understanding.

The last of those methods is the rarest in my experience, yet they are the most life-altering and thus my favorite.  The others are by contrast ordinary, boring, slow to sanctify…  and I treat God with the greatest contempt by writing the words in this sentence.   Regardless of His method, how amazing it is that the God of the universe reveals himself to me!

  • God didn’t have to give us a creation reflecting His attributes, but He did.
  • He was under no obligation to give us the Bible, but He did.
  • He isn’t required to answer prayers, but He does.
  • There’s no earthly reason why He should remove the scales of blindness from the eyes of our hearts, but He does.

Thank you Lord.  Thank you for being the Self-Revealing God! Amen!

Michael  (mmattix)

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