I Corinthians 3 Part 2–It Is Simply About Christ

As Paul was dealing with the church at Corinth, it became apparent that they would substitute anything with skin on it for true faith in God through Christ. It is difficult to simply trust God and take Him at His word.  People wanted to trust Paul, Peter, Apollos…and the list goes on. If that was not enough, they wanted to trust in their accomplishments, souls saved, meetings attended, good deeds that were done, contributions that were given.  Paul was trying to help the Corinthians and Christians in general to know–It is always Christ and Him crucified that justifies our faith, our salvation and our relationship with God.
 
In our world, little has changed. It is still difficult to walk in this life simply trusting God to lead us and to save us.  We want to help, somehow.  We want to join the right church, do the right activities and be the right people in order to justify our faith.  Paul and God say no! It is simply not about who we are, where we attend church or what achievements we have accomplished.  We are justified by our faith in Christ. It is all about who He is and what He has done.  We are saved by faith, through grace. If we will simply trust Christ, follow Him and rest in his provision, protection and preparation, then He will transform us into his image and prepare us for an eternity with Him. There is no greater gift, nor is there any easier formula.  Help me Lord to follow You!
 
God Bless You

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.

18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”[a]20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”[b] 21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas[c] or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

I Corinthians 2 Part 1–The Spirit’s Power

It is often the greatest challenge of faith to rely upon God’s spirit for direction. When Christ died, He bore our sins–a huge burden. But when He rose from the dead, the Lord not only gave us the opportunity to live again, spiritually, he also made way for the Holy Spirit of God to indwell and direct our lives. Prior to Christ’s resurrection, the Spirit was given to prophets, priests, and kings. When they were anointed by God, His Spirit would come upon them and they would be guided and directed by God’s hand. After the resurrection, The Holy Spirit became available to all that truly believed and followed the Lord.
 
We, God’s chosen,  are given the Holy Spirit to lead, comfort, guide and direct our journey.  It is an amazing thing to sense God’s direction in our lives. What is more, God desires nothing more than to reveal himself to us.  His word, fellowship, and prayer all help to reveal the Spirit’s leading in our lives. Our relationship with God is a personal one, and His Spirit works individually in each of our lives to transform us into God’s image and prepare us for an eternity with Him.  We can never underestimate the power of God as He reveals Himself to us in our daily journey with Him. We need to be sensitive to God’s leading and ask humbly for daily direction as we follow the Lord.
 
The walk with God is a spiritual one, so we must always rely upon His Holy Spirit to make it complete. Thank You, Lord, for sending your Spirit to guide and direct us. 
 
God Bless You

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”[b]
the things God has prepared for those who love him—

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

2 Samuel 23 Part 2–David’s Mighty Men

In a word, David was an amazing king. But, he would not have been as amazing, had it not been for the mighty men God gave him for support. This passage in Samuel lays out the exploits of the loyal guards of David. Of the hundreds of thousands of troops that served the king, these men rose to the top. Among the group were three that were so amazing, they were called, “The Three”. And beyond them were an additional 34 men that served David without question and risked their lives without any thought to their own safety or honor.  These men were all placed in God’s “Hall of Fame” because of their devotion to God and their king. One name that appears–Uriah the Hittite, was the man David had killed to take Bathsheba. Uriah was a man of honor!
 
None of us can do life alone.  We seek the Lord, but, he kindly puts folks in our lives to support us and carry us through the peaks and valleys we face. As we look back at the people God has given to us as our “Mighty Men”, none enter our lives to build a name for themselves. They all walk alongside and do what is necessary to be a friend simply out of love and devotion. We can never be grateful enough for the mighty men in our lives. we simply need to remember them, honor them and know that it was God that gave them to us. We remain thankful to Him for such an amazing gift. I am so grateful for the mighty men God has placed in my life. Many of you read this and know who you are. So please accept this note as a note of thanks and know I am forever grateful for you being a part of my amazing journey.
 
God Bless You

Josheb-Basshebeth,[a] a Tahkemonite,[b] was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed[c] in one encounter.

Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty warriors, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered at Pas Dammim[d] for battle. Then the Israelites retreated, 10 but Eleazar stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead.

11 Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from them. 12 But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory…

Abishai the brother of Joab son of Zeruiah was chief of the Three.[e] He raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed, and so he became as famous as the Three.19 Was he not held in greater honor than the Three? He became their commander, even though he was not included among them.

20 Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 21 And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. 22 Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty warriors. 23 He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.

24 Among the Thirty were:

Asahel the brother of Joab,

Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem,

25 Shammah the Harodite,

Elika the Harodite,

26 Helez the Paltite,

Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa,

27 Abiezer from Anathoth,

Sibbekai[f] the Hushathite,

28 Zalmon the Ahohite,

Maharai the Netophathite,

29 Heled[g] son of Baanah the Netophathite,

Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin,

30 Benaiah the Pirathonite,

Hiddai[h] from the ravines of Gaash,

31 Abi-Albon the Arbathite,

Azmaveth the Barhumite,

32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite,

the sons of Jashen,

Jonathan 33 son of[i] Shammah the Hararite,

Ahiam son of Sharar[j] the Hararite,

34 Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maakathite,

Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,

35 Hezro the Carmelite,

Paarai the Arbite,

36 Igal son of Nathan from Zobah,

the son of Hagri,[k]

37 Zelek the Ammonite,

Naharai the Beerothite, the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah,

38 Ira the Ithrite,

Gareb the Ithrite

39 and Uriah the Hittite.

There were thirty-seven in all

2 Samuel 23 Part 1–David’s Last Words

It is all about the legacy we leave. As David’s days were coming to an end, he told his son that it is, in fact, one’s legacy that defines his life. David’s time as king was defined by the uniting of the nation, and the establishment of Israel as a power in the world.  By the end of David’s reign, Israel was the leader. They collected tribute from most of the surrounding nations and had outposts at every vulnerable place that surrounded them.  They had a well-established army and were known among the other nations as a kingdom whose God was powerful and in charge.  David sought to bring glory to God and in doing so, he was to become known as one of the greatest leaders of all time.
 
It is always true; if one places God first, He will establish everything else. The Lord never promised to make life easy, He simply promised to lead, guide and direct us through.  One needs to trust God through the greatest and worst of times in order to see his amazing hand of mercy and to experience His provision, protection, and preparation. There will be trials, temptations, and disappointments throughout, but, there will also be amazing adventures and lasting legacies to carry the day. Like David, we need to trust God, follow His lead and give the Lord the glory for the things God accomplishes in our lives. David did that and was established as a man after God’s own heart.
 
God Bless You

These are the last words of David:

“The inspired utterance of David son of Jesse,
the utterance of the man exalted by the Most High,
the man anointed by the God of Jacob,
the hero of Israel’s songs:

“The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me;
his word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke,
the Rock of Israel said to me:
‘When one rules over people in righteousness,
when he rules in the fear of God,
he is like the light of morning at sunrise
on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain
that brings grass from the earth.’

“If my house were not right with God,
surely he would not have made with me an everlasting covenant,
arranged and secured in every part;
surely he would not bring to fruition my salvation
and grant me my every desire.
But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns,
which are not gathered with the hand.
Whoever touches thorns
uses a tool of iron or the shaft of a spear;
they are burned up where they lie.”

2 Samuel 21-Various Stories of David’s Reign–Making Amends to Gibeah

After David became king, God caused a famine in the land. When David inquired to the Lord about the reason for the famine. God told David the famine was a result of the killing of the Gibeonites by Israel at Saul’s direction.  So David went to the Gibeonites and sought to make amends.  The Gibeonites wanted the lives of 7 of Saul’s family. With great sadness, David complied and sent 7 of Saul’s descendants to Gibeah, where they were killed.  In addition, David reclaimed the bodies of Saul and Jonathan and returned the bones to be buried in the family grave.  His efforts appeased God and the famine was over and the peoples were healed.
 
Throughout life, we are faced with tasks we wished we did not have to perform. Whether king or humble servant–the journey we take has tough moments.  If we will continue to seek God and follow his lead, he will show us how to overcome the barriers and obstacles in our lives.  As we do, we can help to make things right for others as well.  Like David, our first stop must be at the throne of God. When we get there, the Lord will give us what we need to proceed.  Help me, Lord to understand what it takes to complete the journey You have set out!
 
God Bless You

The king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites; the Israelites had sworn to spare them, but Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them.) David asked the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? How shall I make atonement so that you will bless the Lord’s inheritance?”

The Gibeonites answered him, “We have no right to demand silver or gold from Saul or his family, nor do we have the right to put anyone in Israel to death.”

“What do you want me to do for you?” David asked.

They answered the king, “As for the man who destroyed us and plotted against us so that we have been decimated and have no place anywhere in Israel, let seven of his male descendants be given to us to be killed and their bodies exposed before the Lord at Gibeah of Saul—the Lord’s chosen one.”

So the king said, “I will give them to you.”

The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath before the Lord between David and Jonathan son of Saul. But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab,[a] whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite. He handed them over to the Gibeonites, who killed them and exposed their bodies on a hill before the Lord. All seven of them fell together; they were put to death during the first days of the harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning.

10 Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it out for herself on a rock. From the beginning of the harvest till the rain poured down from the heavens on the bodies, she did not let the birds touch them by day or the wild animals by night. 11 When David was told what Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, Saul’s concubine, had done, 12 he went and took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead. (They had stolen their bodies from the public square at Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hung them after they struck Saul down on Gilboa.) 13 David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from there, and the bones of those who had been killed and exposed were gathered up.

14 They buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the tomb of Saul’s father Kish, at Zela in Benjamin, and did everything the king commanded. After that, God answered prayer in behalf of the land.

2 Samuel 20–Will the Unrest Ever End?

David had been through unbelievable pain. He knew that his acts destroyed many lives. Now, the land had seemed to settle down and people were once again accepting David as king–But, then Sheba appeared.  Sheba was from Benjamin’s tribe, the tribe of Saul.  He declared to the people of Israel that He wanted nothing to do with David–and several followed him.  Ultimately, David’s Army sought him out and the people of the city where he was hiding killed, Sheba.  The unrest was over.  David’s troops returned and no further rebellion happened during David’s reign. 
 
Life is a series of battles and trials.  We face them as they come.  Some come as a result of our sin and mistakes, others happen because that is a part of life.  As one looks at David’s life, it becomes apparent that while God truly loved and blessed David, there was plenty that happened that was not a fairy tale. David had to endure the trials and remain committed to the Lord in good and bad times.  Through that, he was able to leave a legacy that truly changed the world. I am sure if you asked David on a day to day basis, many of his days were not the best. We must cling to the hope of our eternal perspective and know that no matter how difficult life can become, God is with us, loves us and has an amazing plan for us!
 
God Bless You

Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bikri, a Benjamite happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and shouted,

“We have no share in David,
no part in Jesse’s son!
Every man to his tent, Israel!”

So all the men of Israel deserted David to follow Sheba son of Bikri. But the men of Judah stayed by their king all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.

When David returned to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to take care of the palace and put them in a house under guard. He provided for them but had no sexual relations with them. They were kept in confinement till the day of their death, living as widows.

Then the king said to Amasa, “Summon the men of Judah to come to me within three days, and be here yourself.” But when Amasa went to summon Judah, he took longer than the time the king had set for him.

David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba son of Bikri will do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your master’s men and pursue him, or he will find fortified cities and escape from us.”[a] So Joab’s men and the Kerethites and Pelethites and all the mighty warriors went out under the command of Abishai. They marched out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bikri.

While they were at the great rock in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was wearing his military tunic, and strapped over it at his waist was a belt with a dagger in its sheath. As he stepped forward, it dropped out of its sheath.

Joab said to Amasa, “How are you, my brother?” Then Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10 Amasa was not on his guard against the dagger in Joab’s hand, and Joab plunged it into his belly, and his intestines spilled out on the ground. Without being stabbed again, Amasa died. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bikri.

11 One of Joab’s men stood beside Amasa and said, “Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab!” 12 Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the road, and the man saw that all the troops came to a halt there. When he realized that everyone who came up to Amasa stopped, he dragged him from the road into a field and threw a garment over him. 13 After Amasa had been removed from the road, everyone went on with Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bikri.

2 Samuel 19–The Return of David’s Kingdom

The war was over and God gave David back his kingdom. There was great confusion and unrest among the people, but after a time, the different tribes and leaders fell back in line.  The kingdom would never be quite the same, but David would be king and rule with the same heart he had before. His people would regain their stability over time and his trusted advisors would move toward him as they had been before.  The important relationship between David and the Lord was still intact and that was the relationship that would carry the day.
 
In life, we all face a host of events in our lives that turn life upside down.  trials, temptations, sickness, and other battles leave us disheartened, displaced and confused.  But, as long as we continue to focus on the Lord and His promises, we will overcome the things that sidetrack and disrupt us.  Relationships can be restored and possessions replaced–but, our faith in our Lord cannot be set aside; if we want to make it through. Sadly, the enemy does all he can to persuade us to quit trusting God and do things on our own. When that happens, the rest becomes chaotic.  As Jesus said in His sermon on the mount, ” Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you!” Matthew 6:33
 
God Bless You

 Throughout the tribes of Israel, all the people were arguing among themselves, saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies; he is the one who rescued us from the hand of the Philistines. But now he has fled the country to escape from Absalom; 10 and Absalom, whom we anointed to rule over us, has died in battle. So why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?”

11 King David sent this message to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests: “Ask the elders of Judah, ‘Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his palace since what is being said throughout Israel has reached the king at his quarters? 12 You are my relatives, my own flesh and blood. So why should you be the last to bring back the king?’ 13 And say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my own flesh and blood? May God deal with me, be it ever so severely if you are not the commander of my army for life in place of Joab.’”

14 He won over the hearts of the men of Judah so that they were all of one mind. They sent word to the king, “Return, you and all your men.” 15 Then the king returned and went as far as the Jordan.

Now the men of Judah had come to Gilgal to go out and meet the king and bring him across the Jordan. 16 Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David. 17 With him were a thousand Benjamites, along with Ziba, the steward of Saul’s household, and his fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed to the Jordan, where the king was. 18 They crossed at the ford to take the king’s household over and to do whatever he wished.