Friday, May 20, 2016

Behaving Wisely

1 Samuel 18:5 So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely 
1 Samuel 18:14 And David behaved wisely in all his ways and the Lord was with him. 
1 Samuel 18:15 Saul saw that David behaved very wisely
1 Samuel 18:30 David behaved more wisely than all the servants of Saul.

Following his victory over Goliath, David was given the great privilege of being King Saul's armor bearer and the head of the men of war. This promotion was something that David took very seriously. Four times within the chapter it says he "behaved wisely". Regardless of what task he was given David carried himself in a manner that honored the Lord. The chapter also records the results of his behavior. In verse five it says "David was accepted in the eyes of the people and Saul's servants." One thing I love about David is he didn't try to be something he wasn't. He did his job as unto the Lord and he was accepted. One of the greatest blessings bestowed on David is found in verse 14 when it says, "The Lord was with him." David had the daily assurance of God's presence. Knowing God is with you wherever you go makes all the difference in the world. David continued to grow as an armor bearer and a leader among God's people. I wish that David's behavior resulted only in positive feedback, however that was not the case.  Not everyone was pleased with him. King Saul's heart began to grow bitter toward David. The people were singing songs about David having more victories than Saul.  Filled with envy, Saul picked up his spear and tried to pin David to the wall. He also incited his servants to ensnare David. The Bible says that Saul was motivated by fear and became David's enemy continually. Nevertheless David continued to behave wisely. 
There may come a time when you are in a circumstance where you can choose to behave wisely or react harshly. You can wait patiently or get even immediately. It's always best to let the Lord fight your battles. Remember that the Lord is with you. Continue to live your life on the job, at school, at home, or at your church; that pleases God. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Prepared to Fight

Moreover David said, "The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the Lord be with you." 1 Samuel 17:37

David was sent by his father to the battlefield where his three older brothers were stationed. When he arrived at the Valley of Elah he was surprised to find that Israel and the opposing army of the Philistines were at a stand still. Suddenly a giant named Goliath came into the valley and began to blaspheme God and challenge Saul to send a man to fight him in a winner take all contest. David began to inquire why no one would go and face this man. Why were God's people cowering in fear? David's older brother began to criticize David's concern. He accused him of being arrogant and having ulterior motives. Yet David's heart was for God's people. He was a shepherd who cared for the flock. David turned from his brother and refused to listen to his words. King Saul heard about the discussions going on in the camp and he called David for an interview. David began to tell the king of his victories while caring for his fathers sheep. Although David had not been on the battlefield he had killed both a lion and a bear. The lion and the bear prepared David to face the giant. In David's mind the Philistine was nothing more than a wild beast seeking to destroy God's flock. The Lord didn't need a soldier to fight this battle, He wanted a shepherd. David was so confident in what the Lord was going to do that he said, "He WILL deliver me."
The battles we face today are often preparation for the battles ahead. God uses the current circumstances to prepare us for what He has in the future. The prophet Jeremiah had to run with the footmen in order to prepare for the horses. Moses had to dwell in the desert shepherding a flock of sheep so that he could lead God's flock through that same wilderness. Fight the battles of today with courage and trust in God, and you will be ready for the battle ahead. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Overlooked

But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, for I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 
1 Samuel 16:7 

The Lord had removed His anointing from Saul and told Samuel to go and find another king for Israel. Samuel was instructed to go down to the home of Jesse the Bethlehemite who had eight sons. Each one of the sons was then brought to stand before Samuel. The first son was named Eliab. When Samuel saw Eliab he said within his own heart, "Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him!" Why do you suppose that Samuel thought that? Probably because he was looking for someone who resembled Saul. Yet the Lord was not interested in another Saul. Although Saul had all the natural endowments and characteristics of a leader he lacked a surrendered heart.  Therefore the Lord told Samuel to look deeper than the outward appearance. The next brother was Abinadab, then Shamah, and then the rest of the brothers; and each of them the Lord refused. At this point Samuel must have been confused and so he asked Jesse, "Are all the young men here?".  Jesse then informed the prophet that his youngest son was out taking care of the sheep.  How sad, David wasn't even invited to the dinner with the prophet Samuel. Nevertheless although David was overlooked by others, He was well known to God. Samuel called for David and anointed him in the midst of his brothers and the Spirit of God came upon him that day. 
Perhaps today you feel overlooked. You're wondering when is it going to be your time. The Lord knows right where you are. He sees you faithfully serving your family and raising your kids. He sees the hours you put in at your job to provide. He see's the struggle your in. Remember the Lord looks at the condition of your heart. When the Lord needed David He knew where to find him.  
Someone once said "Its not great talents that God blesses, but great likeness to Jesus." God has a plan for you,  He knows where you are, and in His timing He will raise you up. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Time to Move Forward

1 Samuel 15:28 
Now the Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn over Saul seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; 1 Samuel 16:1a

Samuel was grieved over the fact that Saul remained unrepentant. In fact the Bible says that he was mourning over the life of Saul. You only mourn over those you love. Saul had made his decision to do things his own way. He no longer listened to Samuel, he wouldn't listen to Jonathen, he wouldn't listen to anyone. It didn't have to be that way, but that was Saul's choice. Although Samuel was broken, there came point when enough was enough. Weeping had endured for a night, it was time for joy to come in the morning. It was time for Samuel to remove the garments of heaviness, and replace them with garments of praise.  The Lord spoke to His prophet and told him it was time to get back to work. Samuel couldn't change Saul's mind, but he could keep doing God's work. 
There are trials that you will encounter in life and ministry that will cause you grief and bring tears to your eyes. Yet you can't stay in that place of sorrow forever. There comes a point, when like Samuel, you need to get up and keep moving forward. There comes a time when you have to fill the horn with oil and get down the road. Samuel had to keep moving forward with his eyes on the Lord, and so do we.




Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Beginning of the Unraveling



1 Samuel 13:13 And Samuel said to Saul, "You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue.

After ruling in Israel for two years the behavior of King Saul began to change. There were a series of decisions that he made that caused the kingdom to unravel. 

In chapter 13:2 "Saul chose for himself three thousand men". Samuel had warned the people that Saul would take all the choice men and make them his soldiers and servants. Yet I believe that phrase "chose for himself" was the start of Saul's spiral downward. One of the things that became a hallmark of Saul's life was doing things the way he wanted rather than the way God wanted. It didn't matter if others disagreed, Saul was going to do what he felt was best even if it meant disobeying God's Word. 

In chapter 13:3 "Saul blew the trumpet throughout the land". Saul's son Jonathen had attacked the garrison of the Philistines. He was fighting the battles that Saul should have been fighting. Yet Saul blew the trumpet and everyone heard that "Saul had attacked the garrison"(vs.4). Saul not only chose for himself, but he also took the glory for himself. He was so paranoid that someone would take his place that he constantly eyed anyone who seemed a potential threat. This was certainly the case with David later on. But Saul had to be the one to get the credit for things that were done. He would eventually build a monument unto himself. 

One bad decision in Saul's life led to the next. He made a tragic error when he chose to disobey the clear command of the Lord. He was unwilling to wait for Samuel to offer a sacrifice before entering into battle. Saul took matters into his own hands. When Saul was confronted by Samuel he made excuses and blamed others for the results of his actions. Saul was moved by the people, he was moved by the enemy, he was moved by his own heart. He lacked discernment, and without thinking things through Saul went forward. When Samuel arrived he informed Saul that he had behaved foolishly and disobediently, resulting in the kingdom being taken from him and given to another. I find the words of Samuel very sobering when he said to Saul, the Lord "WOULD HAVE" established your kingdom. In other words, this is what God wanted to do, but because you would not listen you missed it.  

Life is full of decisions. It's important to look to the Lord in order to make the right decisions. We don't want to miss out on any of the good things that the Lord has in store for us. 

PRAYER: Lord today we submit to Your plans for our lives. We need You to give us the wisdom to make the right choices. Help us not to go against that gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit that tells us to wait. We want to walk in obedience to Your Word. Please let Your will be done, In Jesus name AMEN!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

There's Always A Battle

But Saul said, "Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the LORD has accomplished salvation in Israel....There they made sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly. 1 Samuel 11:13,15b

It wasn't long after Saul was inaugerated to be king that he faced his first major challenge. The  enemies of Israel, known as the Ammonites, threatened to wipe out the people of Jabesh Gilead. The elders of Jabesh began to frantically search for someone to deliver them. They went to King Saul weeping over what was about to happen. The enemy had prepared to attack and they had no way to defend themselves. When Saul heard the news he was genuinely concerned for the well being of the people. Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he moved into action. He rallied the troops and prepared them for battle. Saul engaged the enemy and won a great victory on behalf of the people. Saul gave all the credit to the LORD for his victory in battle. At this time in his life he was humble and dependent.  In Gilgal Saul and the people were unified with joy over what the Lord had done. Nevertheless it wasn't long after this victory that things would begin to change. 
When the Lord is doing a work in and through our lives there will always be battles to fight. In those moments where our faith is tested we can run to our King of Kings Jesus, and He will come to our aid and be our defense. When the enemy comes in like a flood the Lord will raise up a standard against him. Whatever confrontation comes your way look to Jesus for the battle strategy in order to gain the victory. When it's all said and done give Him all the glory. 

PRAYER: Lord we thank you that no matter what challenge we face Your strength is sufficient to meet the challenge. As we go out into this world help us to put on the whole armor of God and fight with the spiritual weapons You have provided. In Jesus name, AMEN

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Different Man with a Different heart

1 Samuel 10:9a-10b So it was when he had turned back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart; then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. 

The story of King Saul began with an amazing work of the Spirit of God in his life. One day Saul and his servant went out searching for the families lost donkeys. Their quest was  unsuccessful so they decided to seek the council of the local Seer named Samuel. Unbeknownst to Saul the Lord had already been speaking to Samuel about his arrival. Saul didn't know it, but he was to be the next king of Israel. When Samuel met Saul he shared a message that was unexpected and didn't make sense. He spoke of Saul being the desire of all Israel. Samuel alluded to a plan that God had for Saul's life. This meeting wasn't by accident it was a divine appointment. Samuel fed Saul, and anointed Saul and told him that the Spirit of God was about to come upon him. Saul was about to enter into a whole new chapter in his life. Sure enough when Saul departed, the words of Samuel came to pass. The Spirit of God came upon Saul and gave him a new heart and he began to prophecy. Saul had the power of the Spirit, and a gift from the Spirit. 
When the Spirit of the living God comes upon our lives He transforms us. He begins to change us and make us new. Maybe today you woke up and assumed it was going to be another ordinary day, but what if today is a turning point in your life. A day when the Spirit of God does a fresh work in your heart, followed by a new chapter to be written in your life. 

PRAYER: Lord today we ask that we would yield to the work of Your Spirit. We pray that our hearts would change and be more like Your heart. Father may the gifts of the Spirit flow forth from our lives. Lead us in whatever direction that will bring You the most glory. In Jesus Name AMEN!