Moving and a Quiet Time

1Kings 8 to 10  Recently a friend moved and it was a chore—especially with little children who don’t really understand why they are moving from a familiar place to one that is unfamiliar! Can you relate? In these chapters, King Solomon is moving the Ark from its place in the countryside to the brand new Temple. It took many many people to make this move a success and to bring the precious cargo to its new home. But it didn’t just happen, there had to be advanced preparation, just like my friend, because Solomon as King had invited all of Israel’s elders, the leaders of the Israelite tribes and families! They would be coming to witness the transfer from Zion to Jerusalem. It only took place after Solomon had planned for many months to bring this about.

My friend had spent countless hours packing, repacking and gathering documents to move his family just like Solomon. It was after all of that Solomon stood before the altar and spread out his hands to the Lord in prayer. His prayer was long and God was pleased. In fact, God was so pleased that He appeared to Solomon and blessed him with these words “I have answered your prayer.” Imagine God doing that for each of us as we plan, prepare and then take time to talk to Him.

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It is our prayer that as you start your day you spend it in advance preparation for what you are going to read and meditate upon so that you will hear the same response as Solomon. Please let us know if we can assist you in any way. Also, we are open to suggestions from you our audience!

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Earthly Stones vs Living Stones

1Kings 5  David had laid the foundation of friendship with Hiram of Tyre and Solomon reaped the reward.

Eccl 4:9 “Two people are better than one because they can reap more benefit from their labor”

In Exodus, we saw how the people gave willingly to build the Tabernacle. David willingly had accumulated wealth but it took Solomon to complete the dream. Hiram willingly shared from his wealth to assist Solomon all because David had laid the foundation of a lasting companionship.

Solomon built the Temple for not just the Israelites but for the nations of the world. In Exodus, it was only the Israelites that built but the Temple was built along with the Gentiles. And both were to be places of worship to the glory of God.

God desired that the Temple be built but also that the construction itself be recorded that we might honor and glorify Him. This speaks of our lives under His leadership. He continuously records our lives and one day we will stand before him to hear of our deeds. Will they be of wood, hay and stubble or gold, silver and precious stones?

The Temple was built from stones from under the earth; we are the living stones building the church. “you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” [1Pet 2]

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The Lord is my shield & protector

2Samuel 22  What do you do when you come to the realization that through all of life’s struggles God has been at your side? When you look back do you take time to journal or sing praises? David took an entire chapter to share his mindset and his praise to God for His loving kindness. He looked back and said, “God is my refuge.” God has saved me from violence—wonder if he was thinking how close he came to death when Absalom was seeking to take his life and install himself as king? It was at that time, as he notes, the currents of chaos overwhelmed me. Yet in vs 7, he recalls how in this time of distress he called out to the Lord and from His heavenly temple He heard and responded. His response came in the form of darkness, thick rain clouds, thunder, and lightning. How often do we see a thunderstorm as evidence of His listening and power? I can attest to that. Many years ago God did exactly that for me when I called out to the Lord; reveal Yourself to me for I am in a quandary.

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Where have you been that you have called out to God and He revealed Himself in some miraculous way? Would you share that we all may praise God and share in your answer?

Vs 31 the Lord’s promise is reliable; he is a shield to all who take shelter in him.

 

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Forgiveness…

2 Sam 19 “Forgiveness…”

Chapter 19 is the completion of a saga that had torn apart the nation and although the nation is not completely healed, David takes the extraordinary step of forgiving those who had slandered, lied, and did many other things. It takes a broken heart to step out of your comfort zone to forgive those who have done those things and David once again shows us why God said he was a man after God’s own heart. God forgives us from all our sins, big or little. God takes the extraordinary step of reaching down from heaven to reveal His heart to all of mankind. Some accept and some reject. Our job is to follow His example and forgive those who have wronged us just as Jesus did as they nailed him to that tree.

Could we do any less?

Vengeance is mine saith the Lord and HE will deal with all of those who have sinned against us. That is a truth you can take to the bank. God is gracious and although our hearts are broken, God’s love covers those sins. Love covers a multitude of sins—trust me I know from personal experience. Perhaps you have as well and if you feel comfortable, share how God used your forgiveness to unify that which was broken.

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I am Tamar; Hear My Voice!

2 Sam 13 As we read this tragedy we are confronted with the sin of David being replicated in his firstborn son Amnon but more so is the innocence of his daughter Tamar. How many of our daughters have had to face similar circumstances and only hear the silence of those who should stand up and call sin sin. How many have heard their brothers say “be quiet; don’t take it so seriously.” We want to scream, cry and join our hearts with Tamar whose virginity was slain. We want to not let her voice go unnoticed as she cries out from the grave; learn from my naiveté and my trusting innocence when I should have seen and stopped the charade in its tracks. Girls take heed! 

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Tamar was raped plain and simple and she was silenced. Her voice cries out from the pages of scripture. Scripture says keep away from sexual immorality but our culture says it won’t happen to you. Scripture says possess your own body in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion but our culture says just be silent.  Tamar was caught in a catch 22 situation and her father was too naïve to think his only son would take sexual advantage of his sister. Fathers, listen and put hedges of protection around your daughters.

What can we learn from Tamar? Satan is diabolical and crafty and uses men like Jonadab and Amnon so we must be wise and discerning. Tamar is saying don’t be foolish; sin is about to happen. Tamar is crying out from the grave; listen to me; learn from me. No means no.

Tamar cries out: Fathers; put hedges of protection around your daughters; rebuke the sin and the sinner. Daughters, when you sense danger leave because Satan is more powerful than you are!

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How Big is Your Dream?

2Sam 7 dream bigger2a2Sam 7 What do you do when all of your work is completed? David sat in his newly built palace and reflected. Here I am in this beautiful palace and there is God’s home, a simple tabernacle. He began to envision a mighty house to hold the Ark of God. He began to dream of what he could do to honor the God who had blessed him so much. But, through the prophet Nathan, God told David that his dream was far too small. He had a greater dream that would extend beyond today and tomorrow and will be here long after he is gone.

After hearing God’s dream, David went and sat before the Lord pondering all of these thoughts. As he did his mind was overwhelmed by the graciousness of the Sovereign Lord and asked; who am I and what is my family that you should bless me so? Are these your words as well?

Have you ever been so overcome with God’s blessing that your words fail to explain what your heart is saying? As you sat quietly did the Holy Spirit bring back to your mind the abundant blessings that God had poured over you? That is how it was with David as he rehearsed the blessings of God upon his life.

Truly God is great; He can do anything; far greater than our wildest dreams—if you will only let His dreams be yours.

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Eulogies Are for the Living

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2Samuel 1:19-27 David is a man after God’s own heart and he reveals this as he responds in this way about Saul and Jonathan in their death. David used this as a teaching tool for the nation of Israel as to how to eulogize men. No matter how a life is lived; once a man dies, we are not to dredge up their past sins. Instead, we recall what was right. Just as Moses and Miriam composed songs for the children of Israel that they might rehearse the work of the Lord, so David composed a song to rehearse what was right about Saul and Jonathan, simply called “the Bow.” Moses commanded that the children “write down for yourselves the following song and teach it to the Israelites. Put it into their very mouths” Deut 31:19. So we may presume that David did this as well.

He reminded the nation that Saul was their first king anointed by Samuel. He was a man of war keeping Israel’s enemies at bay. He reminded them that this news was for Israel alone lest the enemies rejoice. David curses the land where it took place and the enemy who came bearing the news. He recalled Jonathan; the dutiful son and fallen soul brother who loyally stood fast beside his father and in death fell with him.

David celebrated the praiseworthy acts of Saul. It is a model for us to use when we are asked to eulogize those in their death.

 

 

 

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Your Day Has Been Already Ordered By God!

1Sam 30 “Each Step You Take is God-ordained”

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When we don’t pay attention to God and seek His ways He will often use circumstances to get our attention. David has chosen to not seek God’s protection from Saul and seeks refuge in enemy territory. Therefore, just like us, God will intervene to get his attention. How like our God! He loves us so much that even in our sin, He will woo us back to him.

David may have deceived Achish, but he hasn’t deceived the rest of the Philistines. They are not so naïve to think that David will follow them into battle against his own people and so they convince Achish to send David home, which he reluctantly does. He finds the city of Ziklag deserted, burned and their families kidnapped! The men quickly say: this is your fault, David!

Read this chapter closely to see God at work. The Philistines turned away David so he would return to Ziklag. The men revealed their hearts when they played the blame game which caused David to seek the face of God. In that time with God, he drew strength and a rescue plan. Next, God placed a wandering Egyptian who could lead them to the Amalekite camp where the kidnappers were drunk and the rescue happened. However, the returning victors revealed their heart as evil and worthless because of their ungratefulness towards those left behind.  David taught them, like Gideon [Judges 8]: they must share a victory’s spoils because all take part from the small to the large.

As you go about your day stop and be grateful; truly your steps are ordered by the Lord;

even.if. you. don’t realize. it!

 

 

 

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What barrier have you not taken down?

1Sam 25 -28 “Sin is Like a Barrier”

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King Saul is in a predicament. He started out right but in the end, Saul will fade away into the annals of history as a king who failed because he took his eyes off the Lord. There will be others who do as well and we do well to learn from Saul the consequences of sin. God graciously gave Saul a wise counselor in Samuel. However, his impatience and disobedience led Samuel to prophesy that the kingdom would be turned over to David and now it will happen just. as. Samuel. said.

In his early years as king Saul had removed all mediums and astrologers just as God had demanded but now because God no longer hears Saul’s prayers he turns to the very ones that he had removed. When God is silent, where do you turn? Could it be that had Saul repented, God would again hear his prayers? Truly God hears the prayers of the repentant just as we saw in the life of David and will see again. But, also this is true: Psalm 66:18 “If I had harbored sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”

What is the point of this whole strange bizarre tale of disguises, night wanderings to a witch’s home, lying and the entrance of the dead prophet Samuel that God has included? First is the verse from Psalm 66. Sin is like a barrier between you and God. God does answer repentant prayer which Saul did NOT employ. Another lesson is that the enemy of our souls knows our very weaknesses and our strengths. Thirdly, sometimes God uses the bizarre to get our attention so that we would repent so He could bless!

Remove the barrier between you and God: repent 

and pray

Psa 51:10 Create for me a pure heart, O God!

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The Tragic Consequences of Sin

1Samuel 21-22  Lying ranks right up there in the list of sins as that which God hates. [Prov 6:16]

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The anointed King David rose to prominence as the Goliath killer, unafraid of his size and character. Yet, as we read this chapter, we find that fear of King Saul drove David to sin to protect himself. Where was God then? It seems like we are doing another lap around the wilderness and we are back to Prov 29:25 again “the fear of man is a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.”  How often does this verse reveal our heart and our actions, like the old saying of putting the cart before the horse.

David’s sin of lying led to tragic results when Doeg the Edomite killed the high priest and the other priests. This won’t be David’s first lie which causes us to wonder why did God choose him to be the next king. The answer is what God told Samuel. I don’t look at the outward man but the heart of the man. One of the character qualities of David is that of repentance when his sin was revealed.

We are quick to criticize David but fail to see how often we too make critical mistakes when it comes to self-protection because of the fear of man. Remember the words of Isaiah “God is the one you must respect, He is the one you should fear.” [Is 8:13]

Today, stop and slow down; think before you act and repent when your sin is revealed.

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