I Samuel 26 Part 1–Honoring God is Always the Right Answer

It was very simple. David was being protected by God as King. Saul, on the other hand, was being deceitful, murderous and acting in direct rebellion to God. No man would have ever blamed David for killing Saul. David gave Saul countless opportunities to stop the hunt and allow David to live his life in peace. Still, Saul persisted. Now David had Saul’s life in his hands once again…but, David again trusted God and let Saul live.  It was never easy, and I am sure it frustrated his men, but, God was leading David and David had grown to trust God at all cost.
In our lives, we are faced with trials and issues that make us want to take over and try to run our own show. The world encourages it and everyone else seems to be doing that very thing.  In our effort to remain faithful, it looks futile and even those we love, wonder why we would not simply take matters into our own hand.  Like David, we must stay the course and trust that God will prepare us, protect us and provide for us–no matter what the world does.   If we will do that, God will show himself to be faithful and true.  We can never lose hope in God’s faithfulness. If we will only trust him, He will make our lives full and meaningful–just as he promised.
God Bless You

The Ziphites went to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Is not David hiding on the hill of Hakilah, which faces Jeshimon?”

So Saul went down to the Desert of Ziph, with his three thousand select Israelite troops, to search there for David. Saul made his camp beside the road on the hill of Hakilah facing Jeshimon, but David stayed in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul had followed him there,he sent out scouts and learned that Saul had definitely arrived.

Then David set out and went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the commander of the army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army encamped around him.

David then asked Ahimelek the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, “Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?”

“I’ll go with you,” said Abishai.

So David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him.

Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t strike him twice.”

But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? 10 As surely as the Lord lives,” he said, “the Lord himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.”

I Samuel 24 Part 1–What a Relief!

David was wrongfully accused of being a traitor. Saul was intent on killing him.  No one else in the kingdom was against David, and if Saul was gone–well David was God’s anointed king! So, When Saul went into the cave to use the restroom, he was very vulnerable to David. David could have killed him, but instead, David just cut a corner of Saul’s robe off and kept it.  Saul finished up, got dressed and went on his way, never the wiser that his life was in such great danger.  But, then reality set in.  David appeared, called out to Saul, and showed him that he–David had spared the king’s life.  Saul was truly at a crossroads.
 
In our lives, we are faced often with choices that we know would be expedient, but not necessarily right. It would ease our pain or stress–but, it would either not honor God or it would hurt others. The nature of God’s spirit in our lives leads us to be selfless, to be like Christ.  The choices that face us, while difficult, fall on the side of honoring God–not meeting our selfish agendas. In the end, if we do follow him closely, and make the choices that honor God; then, we begin to receive the peace and joy that only the Lord can give. God’s peace and joy is true relief from a chaotic and senseless world. It will carry us through trials, temptation and the curveballs that life continues to throw at us!
 
God Bless You

After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.” So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.

He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said[b] to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.

Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” With these words, David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.

Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’? 10 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’

I Samuel 3–Your Servant is Listening

The thing that made Samuel great, in a time when God had little impact on Israel, was that Samuel was ready to serve. The passage tells the story of Samuel hearing from God.  Since God had been quiet, Samuel had trouble understanding his call.  He ran to Eli, the priest.  Eli finally figured it out, and taught Samuel how to respond. Samuel obeyed, and that was the beginning of a revival in God’s chosen nation. 1st, God kept his promise as it related to Levi; and second, God began to prepare and Use Samuel to lead the people.  The Lord was with Samuel, and He did not allow any of Samuel’s words to fall to the ground–simply put, if Samuel said it, then it came true!!!
 
God wants nothing more than to bless His chosen.  If we will trust the Lord; if we will simply follow Him and do as He says–then He will honor and bless us.  Samuel was the first recorded prophet. He acted as a objective liaison between God and the priests and leaders of Israel. We are God’s chosen and like Samuel–we are to be the liaisons between Him and the chaotic Godless world in which we live.  In God’s word, we learn to hear Him. As we listen, He will reveal his truth and, like Samuel, our words will not fall to the ground.  Paul said it best in 2 Corinthians 5–As Christians, we are new creations. we are called, in vs. 20, to be His ambassadors in the world–but not of it.  If we will do that, we will enjoy an abundant, purposeful Christian life!
 
God Bless You

The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.

One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel… v8 Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God,[a] and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”…v19 The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.

Matthew 7 Part 3–The Message is to Focus

Jesus starts to wrap up the “talk for the ages.” Clearly, He has the attention of the crowd–So, now He delivers the message within the message; the core, the main thing…

The message is to focus–FOCUS! Life in this world is extremely tough, So focus.  Focus on what you need, Jesus called them to focus upon turning to and turning your  needs over to  God! You need not be afraid to ask God for what you need–He is a Dad! Dads that understand loving their kids, give them their needs and desires-neither maliciously or with an agenda! God is so much more loving, selfless and kind! Search for Him, you will find him–knock; He will open up for you! He is God.

Next, Focus upon where you are going. He wanted folks to know–His path is the narrow one! It is neither easy; nor is there a great deal of room to maneuver. God wants our hearts and our submission. It is a non-negotiable. He offers to be our Lord AND Savior not Lord or Savior. The journey leads to life, peace and purpose! So, while it may be a narrow path, it leads to an amazing life–for now and eternity.

Finally, focus on who you are following and becoming. He reminded the people that there would be false prophets–they will look good and speak better! But, their fruit will be awful. Just focus; not only on their words, but, also upon their deeds and their mission. If they are not s glorifying God, they are simply like a wolf wearing a wool  sweater! It may look good, but, it does not make them less of a wolf! In the same vein, just because someone acts religious, it does not mean they even know God! they can put on a great front, but Jesus looks at the heart! So should we! 

We must focus–on what we needwhere we are goingwhom we follow and whose we will be! Unless God is the answer to the question, the results will be empty and short lived. This–is the message! This–is the life.

God Bless You

 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

The Narrow and Wide Gates

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

True and False Prophets

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

True and False Disciples

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

What Has God Done to Us–Genesis 42, Final

Irony is such a large part of our culture.  Whenever things in our lives tend to go wrong, one of the first questions we immediately ask is…”Why is God doing this to me???” That would, of course, be the same God we have tried to eradicate from all aspects of our culture…??? Conversely, when fortune smiles on us or we accomplish or attain something of worth–We grab all the credit and glory.

Since time began, men have always wanted to grab the glory but divert the blame.  Such was the case with Joseph’s Brothers.  As they were journeying home, full packs, full tummies and full of questions, these men were proud they negotiated their release–but as they all found their silver in their bags, “What Has God Done To US?!?”

Their question was not only valid, but, it was accurate.  God protected and provided for them.  He refused to accept payment for the foodstuffs HE put in those bags   God planned for an eternity to provide for them. But, since they were too self centered to recognize his provision, they now stood distraught to see their payment in the saddlebags. He was making them face the difficult truth–they COULD NOT survive on their own. 

It is a difficult proposition, one we all have to face.  Rick Warren said it best, “It’s not about you!” God, not man, is the author and perfector of the journey. He creates and calls the shots.  Most we do not understand, many leave us confused and somewhat resentful; but all work together for an amazing journey that will not be completely revealed until we stand before him. In the meantime, we simply have to trust and humbly follow.

God Bless You

 At the place where they stopped for the night one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his silver in the mouth of his sack. 28 “My silver has been returned,” he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.”

Their hearts sank and they turned to each other trembling and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”

29 When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them. They said, 30 “The man who is lord over the land spoke harshly to us and treated us as though we were spying on the land. 31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we are not spies. 32 We were twelve brothers, sons of one father. One is no more, and the youngest is now with our father in Canaan.’

33 “Then the man who is lord over the land said to us, ‘This is how I will know whether you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers here with me, and take food for your starving households and go. 34 But bring your youngest brother to me so I will know that you are not spies but honest men. Then I will give your brother back to you, and you can trade[a] in the land.’”