Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 24 (day six)
Where does joy come from? Where is contentment found? Is it derived from being true to self? Pursuing your own ends at all cost? Is it found in pleasing those around you, always bending to their will?
They say, you will only truly be happy, when you are true to yourself. They say, pursue your dreams; let nothing or no one stand in your way. Will Joy be found there?
Saul would say, “no.” That was the life he led. He was willing to put David to death for his own contentment. So overcome with selfpreservation that he could not delight in God’s anointed. Saul would die a miserably jealous and angry man.
Joy is not found from within, but from without. We find joy not by pursuing our own ends, but His. This is why Jesus prayed, “Father, may our joy be made full in themselves.” David knew this, do you?
Re:Verse reading— 1 Samuel 20:1-17, 30-42 (day six)
The Gospel is not idle in our life; it shouldn’t be. Its affect is not a one time happening; by the power of the Spirit of God in the believer’s life, it is ongoing, always transforming, bearing fruit in an otherwise desert of a life. We know that to be true, but isn’t always our experience, is it? We wonder, “Why do I struggle so with the same thing over and over?” Or, “Why am I not more faithful to seek God each day?”
What if in God’s economy of sanctification he has chosen the pathway of true Gospel friendship? What if our transformation, or overcoming, requires the attention of a someone who is knit to our soul (like Jonathan to David)? Even more, what if your friend’s sanctification requires a gutsy friendship you are called to provide?
Sometimes we lament that we don’t have a Jonathan in our life, when the whole time God is expecting us not to wait, but take the initiative to be a Jonathan to someone in need.
Re: Verse reading–Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (day two)
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:7
Can you tell that I’ve been listening to Christmas music lately? This Messianic prophecy from Isaiah tells us that there will be an incorruptible everlasting form of government, but not one ruled or established by men. Our best thoughts, our greatest minds have tried to construct ways to fairly govern people since the beginning of civilization. Most educators would agree that students need some sort of structure to succeed. What is acceptable and what is not. How to behave and the consequence for disobedience. In exchange students should feel reasonably safe, they should expect a quality education. This is what we should expect from our government. A system to follow with the expectation of safety. However, even in the most enlightened societies, they are run by fallen people. Even fallen people with the best ideals are still fallen. God’s system is flawless. His promise to be just and righteous is made to all. We must model our lives, our actions, and our obedience to await that perfect government.
Jonathan and David’s friendship only leads me to ask many questions about my own. What should friendship between men even look like? How do we love one another? Is David and Jonathan unique, or does God intend for all of us to have such a friend or friends? Given how busy we are, is this even realistic? How can I get to a place where I am more comfortable sharing my struggles and hopes with another man? Do I even need that type of friendship? Does God want me to be that friend for someone else? Have I ever even approximated a friendship like David and Jonathan’s?
Lots of questions; for some the answers comes easy. I do know that God wants us to have good friends; to share life with good people, who will help us and do us no harm. In many ways I think I only scratch the surface of true friendship, but I am eager and willing learn how to be the kind of friend I need to be.
Re: Verse reading–Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 1 Samuel 20:1-17, 27-42 (day four)
A friend is one who encourages and enables you to do God’s will for your life. Sometimes it can be costly. Jonathan was a true friend to David. He did everything he could to enable David to fulfill God’s plan for his life…even though it came at great personal cost. When God places a friend in your life and a need arises for them, we must go to God and ask what we can do to help. Instead of looking at the drain on our time, energy, or finances, we need to come alongside them to enable them to accomplish God’s plan. Ask God why He has put you in this place and what He wants you to do. Maybe God has already placed resource in your life to assist. Maybe you have been through circumstances that have given you insight and wisdom to pass along to them. Whatever the cost, we must be faithful and loyal to our friends.
Re: Verse reading—Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 1 Samuel 20:1-17, 27-42 (day three)
“They kissed each other and wept together.” In a world where sex is the highest and best form of togetherness, nothing else is never good enough, and all other pursuits wither–especially the pursuit of friendship. We read that “Jonathan loved [David] as his own soul”. We hear David grieve Jonathan by declaring “Your love to me was more wonderful than the love of women.” In our day, such things indicate sexual expression–that these men became “more than friends.” That kind of language cheapens friendship and blinds us to its power. Jesus taught us that there is no love greater than that of the deepest, most sacrificial friendships. If Jesus exalted friendship in that way, should we not question what our society has taught us about friendship?
Re: Verse reading–1 Samuel 16:1-7; Psalm 139 (day four) If we have a relationship with someone, we have shared experience, we have inside knowledge of how they think or how they will behave. Psalm 139 describes the intimate relationship we have we our Sovereign, Almighty God. He knows our thoughts even before we think them…He is present before we arrive…He knows our heart, even when we are confused or misguided. God is so intimately aware of everything about us because He is our Creator. He has designed us to be in relationship with Him. When God looked at David’s heart as a boy, He saw a heart after His own heart. He could see David’s thoughts and actions before David ever considered them. What does God see when He looks at our hearts? Does He see faithfulness? Does He see obedience? Does He see reverence? Or does He see pride…selfishness…greed…hatred? “Where can we hide from your Spirit? Lead us in the everlasting way!”
Re: Verse reading–1 Samuel 16:1-7; Psalm 139 (day one, week two of a new summer series)
“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”–1 Samuel 16:7.
It is a statement of fact. Not a threat or a promise. God looks at the heart. He IS looking, this very moment. “I am the Lord who searches the heart, who tests the inner depths to give to each person according to what he deserves.”—Jeremiah 17:10. “Able to discern the thoughts and the intentions of the heart.”—Hebrews 4:13. Does it give you the willies to think of it? I hope not. The infinitely holy One is also the infinitely merciful One. David came to a place where He welcomed the searching eye of the trustworthy One. He prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.”—Psalm 139:23. He became voluntarily vulnerable. If God already knows my deepest secrets, why shouldn’t I be open and honest with Him? Only good will come from it.
Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “God is seeking worshippers who worship in Spirit and truth.” (John 4:23) We are those worshippers, and not of our own making, but God’s. In Jesus’ death we have forgiveness of sin for all time, but in the resurrected life of Jesus we find our righteousness. In other words God required more than forgiveness for us to be at “peace” with Him; He required a righteousness that forgiveness alone could not provide (Romans 4:25). God transferred the infinite and beautiful righteousness of His resurrected Son onto us, those who by faith rest in the Son. So our slate was not only wiped clean from past and future sin, but our sin was replaced with the righteousness of God’s Son! That jaw-dropping transfer gives us “peace” with God, giving us the privilege to come to God as worshippers.
And by the way, this is no tenuous peace, but a true peace. It is not like King Saul, who changed his relationship with David on a dime. David never knew what Saul he would encounter. An angry Saul? Friendly? Ally? Enemy? Not so with God. The resurrected life of Jesus affords us true everlasting peace with God; we can “boldly approach the throne of grace!” (Hebrews 4:16) God made that happen; He sought after you and made a way!
First Day of Christmas
Luke 2:8-20 ESV
8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.10And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”16And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.17And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.18And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.19But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.20And the shepherds returned,glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” vs. 19
Can you imagine what it would have been like to be Mary?
To have anticipated the birth of the Savior of the world?
To have seen how all of the events came to pass?
The Scripture tells us she treasured up these things and
pondered them in her heart. Aren’t we called to do the same?
Psalm 77:12 says, “I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.”
What a blessing it is to ponder and meditate on the work
God has already done in our lives! It reminds us of His
goodness and faithfulness. It gives us strengh to
face the days ahead. When I struggle with trusting God, reflecting on the things he
has already done in my life and resting on His character keep me grounded.
Because of Jesus, we have hope for coming days.
This Christmas let’s remember and
rejoice in who God is and what He has done!
Re: Verse reading – John 8:31-47