I Samuel 20- The Waiting Game

 

Read I Samuel 20

David has chosen faith over feelings in the last chapter, continuing to serve Saul through treacherous conditions, but there came a time where he knew it was time to re-evaluate. So he plans with Jonathon to find out the state of Saul’s intentions for David and finds out that as suspected, Saul is intent on killing him. David knows now that he must continue to walk in faith, which in this case means leaving, and beginning a life on the run.

David is waiting. Just like us. Everyone is waiting. Some people are waiting to own there own home. Some people are waiting to get out of debt, or get a job, or get pregnant, or get married, or get healthy,  or get a test result,  or get a promotion, or get over it! Just about every single person on this planet is waiting.

We  have the advantage of seeing David’s whole story. There is no tension reading this chapter, because we know that ending. We know that what God promised is going to be fulfilled. So what about us? We also know that this is true for our own lives. We know that God’s plans will not be thwarted, and that He watches over His word to perform it! And that His plans are better than we could ask think or imagine. But the doubt creeps in.
Did God really say?
 Satan has been using this line for thousands of years because the waiting can be unbearably confusing.

I remember when I was in college, and I had a crush on a boy. And I prayed, “God, just show me if he is for me!” (spoiler alert: he wasn’t!!)
“Why?” I heard God say in my heart. “What if he is? Then what would you do? Would you ask him out?”
“Well, no”
“And what if he isn’t? Would you stop talking to him, stop being his friend?”
“no, I guess not”
“So Why?’
“Well, I would just feel better”
But the truth was then, and the truth is now, that our faith is in the One who knows. And we know His plan is good. And we can “feel better” knowing that His plan is perfect, and at the end of it all, we will rest with Him and know that His way was right.

Nothing about David’s waiting was easy. But in those waiting times, we must draw close to God and He will draw close to us. Meditate on His promises. Trust His heart. Surround yourself with people who support the vision God gave you and enlist them to join you in prayer. Jonathon partnered with David. He bore his burdens. We are called to bear one another’s burdens. Is there someone in your life for whom you are doing this? Are you inviting someone in your life to do this for you?

David did not go it alone. He sought council, made a plan, took one step at a time. His present looked nothing like the future he was promised, but he persevered.

I pray that during our waiting times, we will feel God’s presence even stronger, and lean into Him, cling to His promises, and not lose hope! I pray for guidance for that next step, and patience when there are no steps to take.  And I pray that He would send us a Jonathon to go to extreme lengths to bear our burdens, as we seek to be a Jonathon to someone else! Amen!

I Samuel 19- I don’t feel like it.


Read I Samuel 19

So Jonathan told David, saying, “My father Saul seeks to kill you. Therefore please be on your guard until morning, and stay in a secret place and hide. And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak with my father about you. Then what I observe, I will tell you.”

I don’t feel like it. Ugh. Feelings. Did you know that we all feel emotions at different levels? Sure, you have observed it. But have you ever thought about it? Some people don’t feel that much. And it is so much easier for them to act on logic and reason. Some feel too much and hardly do anything that follows any pattern or plan. It’s easy to look at one or the other and condemn their behavior. But we all get there sometimes, to the place where the power of our feelings attempts to overtake us. Some of us just more than not. Feelings. They can paralyze us. Empower us. Confuse us. They aren’t to be trusted. And David knows that.  If I were him, I would skipping work if my boss wanted me dead. But he went. His vision, his anointing, and his friend all gave him the power to move past feelings into faith. David understood. David got it. He knew. He knew the God that had delivered the lion and the bear into his hands, and then delivered Goliath into his hands. So what did he have to fear?

So Saul heeded the voice of Jonathan, and Saul swore, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be killed.” Then Jonathan called David, and Jonathan told him all these things. So Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as in times past.
And there was war again; and David went out and fought with the Philistines, and struck them with a mighty blow, and they fled from him.
Now the distressing spirit from the Lord came upon Saul as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing music with his hand. 10 Then Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away from Saul’s presence; and he drove the spear into the wall. So David fled and escaped that night.

Contrast David’s reaction with Saul’s action. Saul is feeling jealousy, to the nth degree. He is out of control. Jealousy.
William Penn sums it up best like this:  
The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves.
We all feel jealousy at one time or another. The question is what you do with that feeling. Someone who is jealous of another persons skill can be propelled to work harder. Saul, feeling jealous of David’s favor with the people, could have chosen to look at what he had become, and why he had lost favor with God and man. But he didn’t.  He chose to focus on the object of his jealousy.

Saul choose jealousy over joy, but David chose faith over feelings.  

I pray that we would make the same choice as David did. I pray that the power of God’s word would change our hearts, mold our minds, and empower our bodies to crucify the flesh and walk in newness of life, choosing faith and joy over feelings and jealousy. 
** Tell us how you are going to choose faith over feeling today?

I Samuel 18- I’ll be there for you!

Read I Samuel 18

 Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father’s house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt.

Proverbs 18:24  A man who has friends must himself be friendly,<sup class="footnote" value="[a]”>[a]
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother

If the the richness of ones life is measured in friends, then I am in the top 1%. (C’mon, that’s funny, I couldn’t resist) Truly, I have had the most amazing friends. I have had:

Friends you turn from teens to women with (including sisters)

college friends

friends you start a band with


 Friends you raise babies with

 friends that fly across the country, just to hold your babies


Friends that God moves you to another state to meet

Friends that are privy to your every thought through a constant stream of texts

Friends that will visit your kids in the hospital

and even Second generation friends

I know, you get the idea already! But really, this isn’t even half the story. There are friends that get every joke I do, friends that help me think organized, friends that teach me about mental disorders, friends that teach me to watch what I say, prayer warrior friends and the list goes on and on. But before I paint an unrealistic picture, you have to know something. I wasn’t always so appreciative of these friends. Although many of them were direct answers to prayers, some of them were indirect answers to prayers. You see, God has used these ladies and others like them to sometimes rub me the wrong way, and in doing so, they  have helped sand down some undesirably rough places. And as you would imagine, I haven’t always wanted those places sanded down.  The truth is, that although all of these friends are dear friends to this day, we definitely had downs that came along with the ups. That is why I find this verse to be painfully true:

Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
                       But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

The lessons that I learned from these ladies were sent to me straight from God. But, to be honest, sometimes I shot the messenger. With women, we all know, this is more common than not. I severed ties, gossiped, nursed wounds, and acted regrettably.  Yet over time, through the grace of God, this is not still the case.  I have grown to appreciate our differences instead of complaining about them. I have chosen to focus on my part of any relationship difficulty instead of playing the victim. And I have learned to see the beauty of God’s character, woven in the world around me, through the women He has placed in my life.  

If you find yourself without these type of friends, than there are five things you can do:
 
1. Pray for God to bless you with friends that will stick closer than a brother. I have such cool stories from doing just this!
2. Show yourself friendly. No one is inviting you over? Invite them!
3. Realize that no one is perfect- If you are looking for the perfect friend, you will be very disappointed and lonely.
 4. Give grace as liberally as you desire it. Have you ever been late? Failed to answer your phone? Said the wrong thing? Forgot an important event? Yes. Then show grace when all of those things are done to you. And know also that God often uses that things that irritate us to point to the sin in our own lives.
5. Be transparent. – Invite friends over, even when your house is a mess. Be real. There is no other way to have kindred, life-,Jonathan friends without opening your heart and putting down the masks.

Here are some beautiful quotes I found from C.S. Lewis, and I had to add them… because every good blogger needs to quote good ol’ Clive once and a while! 🙂

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”

“Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?”

“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” 

I pray that we would all strive to be the friend that we long to have placing our relationship with our Heavenly Father, the only perfect friend, above all else, depending fully on Him, so that we can pour out His love to others! AMEN!

I Samuel 17- The Standoff

 
Read I Samuel 17
The word of God is amazing because it is true, because it has been proven, a hundred times, in a hundred ways. And one of those ways it proves itself is this: You can read your Bible, from cover to cover, every year, and STILL learn new things, be inspired in new ways, and even surprised. I feel that way today. I can’t think of a more familiar story than David and Goliath. Yet I was truly surprised by the effect it had on my spirit. Maybe it’s because our lives are always changing, and we can relate with different characters in these accounts of history.

Today, I relate somewhat with David’s brothers, although I wish it were different. I wish that I could say with 100% confidence that I related with David, but the thing with giants is, they are so big! And logic dictates that they will not be going down anytime soon because of me. But thankfully this chapter doesn’t end there.

Then here comes David. He is bringing lunch to his brothers much like Saul was chasing donkeys. Just another ordinary task turned monumental. Man, that’ll preach to a mom’s heart. There is nothing more ordinary than the jobs that consume so much of my hours. But what if we looked at the mundane as a portal to the miraculous?! Because you really just never know, do you? This is the second example, at least, where a chore, a duty became someone’s destiny.

26 Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
27 And the people answered him in this manner, saying, “So shall it be done for the man who kills him.”
28 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”

How often does this scene play out in our world? There are so many giants out there. And you might have a massive amount of people just sitting there stuck, paralyzed, seeing no way to win. No way out. Then you have a visionary come along, fresh eyes, wondering, “Um, hey, aren’t we going to do something?” And immediately everyone takes it personally. “Oh, you, with your few sheep, you think you can solve this? What makes you so special?But what if, instead of getting defensive we got honest? This is how it plays out in my world. I may have an area of homeschooling, child rearing, or house cleaning that has hit a road block, dead end. I brainstorm, I try new things, I give up. Then my unsuspecting husband might come along and suggest something and immediately my defenses go up. “You don’t understand” or “You try and do what I do, and see how well it goes.” Even though moments earlier I knew in my own heart, something had to change, now that he is suggesting it, well, it hurts.  This same defensive reaction happens everywhere. Whether you are a mechanic, teacher, office worker, computer programmer, someone might come in and suggest another solution, another way, maybe even a way that seems impossible. How will you respond? 

34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

This. This is going to be the verse that I meditate on today. This I love. Because I have seen God deliver me too! I am *not* the same woman I was a year ago, two years ago, 9, 15, I have seen victory. I have stories. There were ugly bears, and He delivered them into my hand. He did. Not me. I need this verse on a pillow. Or on my wall. Those cute vinyl wall sticky things. Because I am so forgettful!! And I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be David’s brothers, I want to be David. I want to remember that the God I serve can do anything. And that He uses people just as flawed and scared as me! I might make my own reminder. What enemies has the Lord defeated, what battles have you won, that remind you of the power and faithfulness of God? Here’s one for me:

 “The Lord, who strengthened my mind to bring  me through a math major with Abstract Algebra and Complex Variables, He will  strengthen my mind to stay focused on my daily tasks with Abstract children and complex laundry!!” 

“The Lord who provided for us to grow our family from 2 to 5 will provide now for us to care for a child in need!”

 This is fun! Chime in! Let me here your battle cry!

Week In Review: I Samuel 14-16

 This week was filled with familiar stories and passages, yet they never cease to produce life and change. I was so blessed with how specifically each lesson fit my life and struggles this week. With these verses swirling around in my head, I was able to navigate through the typical ups and downs of a day with more direction and confidence in the power of His loving direction, but was also reminded of His judgement. He is not one without the other. And these verses not only applied to the struggles in my own life but also in the lives of my children. Having these verses on the tip of my tongue gave me the words to say to them, guiding them in the way of Truth!
Thank you again for studying this with me, and for your patience with me. I am not a professional. I am just a mostly sleep deprived wife, mom, sister, daughter and friend that loves watching God’s Word come alive. Sorry about any errors, typos, grammar fails, or confusing layouts. I welcome suggestions or corrections and more importantly input about the chapter. I have learned so much about God through so many of you! So I know you have something to say! Don’t be shy 🙂

Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.”

So his armorbearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart.”     

Let us strive to be armor bearers to our brothers and sisters in the faith, as they follow the path that God has laid out for them.

I Samuel 14b- Put a lid on it! 

 24 And the men  of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had placed the people under oath, saying, “Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food. 
This passage reminds us that we need to be most careful with our tongue. Saul made a hasty declaration that ended up destroying his credibility, reputation, and almost his son! Here are some verses to hang up on the wall that remind us that power and potential of the tongue: 
Proverbs 12:18 
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

James 1:26 ESV
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

Proverbs 15:4 ESV 
A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

James 1:19-20 ESV 
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

 

I Samuel 15:1-9: When in doubt, throw it out!

 Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them.
  The Amalekites in the Bible are a type of the flesh.  And just like Saul was to utterly destroy them and their livestock. Everything. We are to utterly destroy our flesh. Even the bits we find entertaining. Even the parts we justify as not that bad. Because God knows that its those parts of our flesh that we let hang around, its those that will destroy us.

I Samuel 15:10-34- Obedience is better than Sacrifice.

 Obedience is better than sacrifice. 

 Regardless of whether we agree or understand, we know that we need to obey. Saul didn’t. And the result was the end of his reign.
Obedience is better than sacrifice. And I pray that our eyes would be opened, that our perspective would be clear, and we would walk in obedience in big and in small as we trust His hand and His heart.

I Samuel 16:13 It’s not about you.

 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees;<sup class="footnote" value="[a]”>[a] for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

God’s word reminds us that it is not about us! It was never about us and what we have to offer Him. He will use us because of our weaknesses, not despite them. We trust in Him and boast in Him, and know that no matter how inadequate we feel, He is enough! Amen!!

I Samuel 16: 14-24: Lean on me…

……And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.

 We live in a world where so many people around us are tormented by distressing spirits. And while we may not have a harp in our back pack, we have more than that. We have knowledge of and access to the Peace Giver.

Let’s purpose to be bold and share the love of Christ in word and in deed, taking our eyes off of ourselves, and looking through our Father’s eyes.

I Samuel 16: 14-24: Lean on me…


Read I Samuel 16 again
 

……And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.
Two lessons stand out to me from the end of chapter 16. One is the power of music and the power of His presence.  When the servant recommended David, he described David as being with the Lord. And when my spirit is troubled, there is nothing that brings me back to a peaceful place as quickly as some skilled music by someone who spends time with the Lord. I am so thankful for great radio stations like Reach FM
 that I can count on to play the most amazing and uplifting songs. And hearing my kids belt those tunes out from behind me in the car? That is just a blessing on top of a blessing.

The second lesson is the more important and timely of the two. We live in a world where so many people around us are tormented by distressing spirits. And while we may not have a harp in our back pack, we have more than that. We have knowledge of and access to the Peace Giver.

Today was just like any other day. I take the kids out in public and people just can’t help themselves. They have to know so many things about us! But I love it! And the kids love it. They get this twinkle in their eyes when someone asks one of  “The questions.” This time it was about the boys. “Are they twins?” she asked nicely, “No, they are all about two years apart….” and with that I started digging in my purse. “But you just won yourself a prize” and I handed her one of these little pamphlets I made with the top 10 questions we get asked and their answers. The number one questions being “How do you do it?” and the answer of course is God. And in that answer I explain  in detail the hope offered to us through Jesus.
After I gave our new friend one of our “prizes” I then handed one to the lady behind her telling her I didn’t want her to feel left out 🙂 and she said, she was wondering too, but didn’t yet ask! They both start reading their papers right away as they waited for their sandwich masterpieces to be made, and giggled a little at my silly answers. I stopped paying attention to them as we continued our lunch. Moments later, our second new friend came over on her way out with tears in her eyes, thanking me for the inspiration found in this little piece of paper. That was a first. We have handed out dozens of our little treats, but never has anyone thanked me with such need in their eyes. I think my eyes were more filled with tears than hers were after that.

Yesterday my heart was heavy and my stomach was sick over the successful attempts at silencing and mocking the Christmas message happening all over our country. And this is still heavy on my heart. I have prayed, I have taken some steps of action, and now I am reflecting still. But Christians, the Lord reminded me of an important reality today. We still have so much freedom in this country of ours to tell others about Jesus. And what are we doing with that freedom? Yes, Deerfield Beach can take down their nativity, and we can protest. But in addition, (yes..in addition…) let us form another type of protest. What if we boycotted silence? What if we determined to tell one person every day about the love of Christ? What if we decided to fight their censorship by totally abusing the rights and privileges we do have and really witnessing our tails off! Let’s continue to fight to keep the freedoms that we have, yes, but  let’s determine to use the freedoms that we have more than ever before!

So today, as you go about your last minute Christmas preparations, remember David, who because of his love for God, was placed in the right place at the right time to minister to a man who was distressed. If you leave the house at all, you are going to run into someone that is distressed. I pray that we would exercise our freedoms to share the good news of Christ, and  that we would keep our eyes open and our hearts ready to see that person and lead them to the cross. Pray that with me today and watch God answer it, and when he does, or if  you already have a story to share, tell us all in the comments section to encourage and inspire us all on to do good works! Amen!

Festivus, Florida, and Fighting for Faith

I just can’t believe this is happening and no one is doing anything. First, can we talk about this supposed war on Christmas. Oh c’mon, of course there is no war on Christmas. Those silly Christians, always crying about something. I mean, yes, we have removed the actual word “Christmas” from every public event known to man. And yes, children singing Christmas carols in schools, well that is not ok.  School’s now have holiday trees ( I am sorry, but what other holiday uses a tree this time of year??) Choirs sing “Winter Concerts.” And on and on it goes. But War on Christmas!! Ha! What a joke! There is no war because they say there isn’t, and laugh, and condescend, and mock things that they haven’t studied, and don’t understand. And they think they can legislate away the power of God. But I am sorry. It’s not going to happen.

Oh, and speaking of mocking, remind me again what happens when people mock Muhammad? Oh yes, our president denounces   publicly, any video that would make fun of Islam or Muhammad.

But what is he going to say about what is happening at the state capitol in Florida? Because I am really steaming. You see, this holiday, this Christmas time, is not just about a baby. It is about the day love came down, in the form of a man who would voluntarily give his life a way in such a way that his bloodied body could not be recognized as human. This was done for us, in our sinful state. So, yes, when someone makes such an open mockery of the savior that bled and died on a cross for all the world to see, and it’s not headline news in a country where the large majority check the “Christian” box, I am so confused. How is it that our savior and his sacrifice are  being so maligned officially! OFFICIALLY! On the State Capital, MY state capital. Oh yeah, I am yelling. I don’t know what else to do? I am Sicilian. My blood is pumping.

How do I make my point. Ok, so imagine your brother, son, daughter, sister, mother, someone you love with every fiber of your being, every molecule, your entire DNA calls their name. Imagine this person dove head first onto a grenade that would have destroyed the entire world. Now imagine it is a few years later, and there is a statue of your loved one, erected in the marketplace. What would your response be if on the anniversary of their birthday, nay, the whole month that you remembered their birthday, someone peed on the statue. Every day. And no one stopped them? Really, how would you keep from pulling your hair out? No, really, I am looking for suggestions, because my hands are on my hair…well, when I am not typing they are on my hair, ready to pull.

Maybe you haven’t seen this, but God help us, this is what happens when Christians sit back and do nothing! Last year, in Deerfield Beach, miles away, an atheist man erected a beer can pole to celebrate a fake holiday created on a T.V. show, right next to the nativity scene, commemorating the birth of a savior. But apparently it wasn’t a big deal. He didn’t face much opposition, yeah, we, locally, did nothing except shake our heads. So this year he upped the ante. This year he went to the Florida State Capitol and erected this same beer can pole there. But that’s not all. Another group has a spaghetti statue also for their fake religion. Make no mistake about it. Theirs are not real religions. (The fact that I even have to say that…..it’s too much) They are merely attempting to mock and ridicule, the One I love. On the other hand, Jesus Christ, he is real.. There is no debate. He walked this earth. And real live atheists who have actually studied historical documents have been convinced that yes, He not only lived and died, but he rose, and lives today.

 I am not hear to argue with atheists who have no faith in God. I am not hear to convince agnostics who just aren’t sure. I am hear to beg with those who claim the name of Christ, that believe that He died and rose again to wake up and realize what is happening around us.
 Let’s review. An atheist in Deerfield is mad about the nativity. So he applies to put up a beer can pole. And since we have effectively removed the Bible as our country’s moral compass, we are left with no leg to stand on. You have to say yes to everything when you don’t stand for the one true thing. That happened last year. So what happens this year? The atheist moves on to higher territory, conquering the capital.

So what? some might say. Christmas is not about a plastic rendering of a baby on the firehouse lawn, right? True, yes, but that is not the point. They are counting on us doing nothing. The loud squeaky minority wheels have removed the Bible from schools. They have made teachers afraid of talking about the only true hope to hopeless students. They are daily, planning ways to keep us from proclaiming the name of Christ. That is the point. Little by little, they are destroying the foundation of our society, and all the while claiming it is getting better!

So what now. What do we do? First, always, is prayer. If you do this regularly, you and I could swap stories about how amazing prayer is, so let’s do it. There are souls that need Jesus, they need to hear his name sung in carols, they need to be reminded of the day He was born while walking in the mall, they need Him. And the enemy is fighting hard to keep Him from their thoughts. 

Secondly, I, for one, am emailing Rick Scott, and I would urge you to do the same. Click here.
This is what I said. Feel free to save time and use my words, and edit where you see fit. 

“I was incredibly surprised and saddened to know that you would allow an angry atheist to erect a display that openly mocks the faith and beliefs that our country was founded on.  A beer can pole for a fake holiday is a disgrace. He has openly claimed that his purpose is to get the Nativity Scene out of there. He already succeeded with this plot in Deerfield Beach. Please explain how the President publicly denounced a video that made fun of Islam and their prophet, yet this blatant mockery was approved by you, a Republican and professed Christian, and receives no such condemnation from our president.Had I known that you could not stand up against the secularization attempts of one lone atheist, I would not have voted for you, and plan not to do so in the future.”

Thirdly, let people know. I googled and googled and googled, and mostly found short articles, either condoning and commending this total and admitted affront on our faith, or just mildly mentioning it. Please share this blog post and see how many people we can get to let the governor know that this is not ok.

Lastly, we need to understand what this is about. This is not about legislating salvation. That could never happen. This is about doing everything in our power to keep the environment in our country open to people hearing the gospel of Christ without whom nothing matters and all is lost. And without action, this will not always be the case, as we have daily proof.

I Samuel 16:13 It’s not about you.

 

Read I Samuel 16
So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!”
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees;<sup class="footnote" value="[a]”>[a] for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
So Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.”
And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down<sup class="footnote" value="[b]”>[b] till he comes here.” 12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.

This is another popular passage of which a lot of us are familiar, but few of us really believe in our heart. How do I know that? Well, in my day, ( I can’t believe I am old enough to say that) people used to say things like “Man, if only Madonna would get saved, wouldn’t that be awesome?? Think of all the things she could do!!” These days, people might say the same thing about Lady Gaga. Oh wow, if she got saved, we could change the whole world!! Please. Don’t ever say this. It’s the exact opposite of the entire theme of the Bible. Saul is a rare case in the Bible where the tall dark and handsome guy, the one everyone would have chosen, was also chosen by God. And it didn’t end well.  David, was the last one anyone thought of for a candidate for king.

This is such good news for us. God, our creator, is in the business of making something from nothing. A king out of a shepherd boy. Moses- a leader out of a coward. Samuel- a prophet from a woman no one thought would have conceive.  Paul the apostle , once a killer of Christians. None of us would have chosen these that God had destined. Really. I mean, when was the last time you heard someone say, “Ya know who would make a great evangelist? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”  But that was pretty close to the reputation Paul had, except toward Christians instead of Jews.

I hear people say all the time, “Oh, you home school? You must be so organized.” Or “Oh, you have all those children, you must be a really patient person, I could never do that,” But the truth is no, I am not naturally organized (right now my husband is reading this nodding his head.) and by nature, I am not patient. That is not to say I have not grown in these areas, because I certainly have. But whenever you think “I could never do that” remember the God you serve, and look out! It is never about what we can do for Him, it is always what He can do through us. This is actually another area where pride sneaks in. We tend to think, “oh I can do that, but not that.” But how do we do anything? Only through He who strengthens us.

I pray today that we would feel the strengthening of the Holy Spirit in our lives to do the impossible, whatever that is. For me, today the impossible feels like laundry or cleaning my room, or  staying focused. For others, it could be starting a business, changing jobs, caring for a sick loved one, grieving a lost loved one, caring for the ungrateful, I just know that all of us feel that stuck feeling sometimes.. You’ve got the wrong girl, Lord, I just can’t. But know this my friend. It was never about us. He knows you can’t do it. He can. Let go and trust. Meditate on those scriptures that tell us why we can!

I Corinthians 1: 26Brothers, consider your calling: Not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. 27Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. 28God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world — what is viewed as nothing — to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, 29so that no one can boast in His presence.30But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us — our righteousness sanctification, and •redemption, 31in order that, as it is written:The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.

I Samuel 15:10-34- Obedience is better than Sacrifice.

 
Read I Samuel 15:10-34

In this portion of scripture, we read more about the battle directives that Saul did not fully obey. This is not a nice story. But in case you didn’t know, the Bible is not a nice story book.  There is a lot of controversy and talk about this passage. I have read and read and read, and of all the reading, the  most concise explanation was from a commenter on a blog. Here it is:
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The line of reasoning presented here (in this other blog) is generally valid, but I am wondering if there is a better approach to addressing this issue than trying to take on every instance of genocide in the OT. It seems to me the very first case of genocide mentioned in the Bible – the flood – provides all the elements necessary for discussing it. Here every living creature that was not on the ark was killed – men, women, children and animals, the most complete genocide ever to be unleashed by God. And why? “God said to Noah, “I have decided to put an end to all people. I will destroy them completely, because the world is full of their violent deeds” (Gen 6:13). So it is a matter of judgment. There was no foreseeable end to the violence. Even the children of men must perish. When Jesus came, he said, “As it was in the time of Noah so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man” (Luke 17:26). Is Jesus justified in bringing this kind of judgment on the world? As much as the world thinks otherwise, he is. The world has rejected God and his gift of life through Jesus. As for subsequent cases of genocide in the OT, if God in his wisdom should decide to end the perpetuation of evil before the appointed time at the end, is he to be questioned? Ultimately it is a matter of covenant. Just as God made a covenant with Noah, so he makes one with those of us who follow Christ. He said, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19). This is the language of covenant, and the world will continue to hate us, our God, his mercy and his judgments because of it. Yes, genocide is a tough issue in light of modern sensibilities, but let’s not lose sight of God’s patience as well as the grace that is shown us through the covenant he has initiated with his people.
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 That said………
This chapter contains one of those verses that I hear in my sleep.
Obedience is better than sacrifice.

I know this to be desperately true in my own house. When I ask one of the children to do something, they can sometimes find creative ways to be disobedient, and some ways can even be disguised as helpful. But often, even if they are trying to be helpful, it ends up being most UN helpful, as now the thing that I really needed done is left undone. Confused? Don’t be. It’s a recurring theme in this book. Obedience. So often I have to then explain to the children “Now do you see? Do you see why I needed you to obey?” And sometimes they do see, and understand, lending me more credibility for the next time. Comparatively, how patient is our God with me, when he says so similarly, “Do you see? Do you see what I am trying to accomplish in you and through you?”
 The reason quite often for my kids disobedience, is that their knowledge and point of view is so limited. They try to make sense of my directions, but sometimes the command might not make sense to them because they lack perspective. How foolish would it be for them to just then give up, and walk away entirely because they don’t agree. But  mostly, even if they don’t understand, they will obey. Why? Because they know me enough to know that I love them and always always have their best interests at heart.

And I know God.  I absolutely know Him enough to know He always has my best interests at heart. And He loves me. Oh how He loves me.

Especially on a day like today when I just couldn’t make the clock slow down, and I was late for one thing after another. Then finally arriving “late” at our final destination, in a crowd of 18,000 plus, we run smack into our closest friends just in town for a visit after having moved away 3 months ago. You can’t plan that stuff. But God knew, the whole day, how it would play out. He knew that making that U-turn, missing that light, all the things that went “wrong” would lead to very right timing for the perfect encounter.

Obedience is better than sacrifice. And I pray that our eyes would be opened, that our perspective would be clear, and we would walk in obedience in big and in small as we trust His hand and His heart.

What ways have you seen God’s plan unfold when you obeyed, even though you didn’t understand?

I Samuel 15:1-9: When in doubt, throw it out!

Today’s reading is short, because, man, this chapter is full and I don’t want to rush through it.

15 Samuel also said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”

So Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah. And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and lay in wait in the valley.
Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, get down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. And Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt. He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.

Samuel gave Saul direct instructions. Complete and specific. Saul was there at his own coronation, when Samuel demonstrated the power of God in a life threatening storm. He was there when Samuel caught him in sin almost immediately. And he should know that God takes obedience very seriously. But who should know that fact even more than Saul? We Christians. We should know how seriously God takes obedience. Why? Because He literally died to see His perfect plan play out in our lives. But don’t we do are best to thwart it!?? So many things get in the way of us seeing God’s beautiful plan for our lives. Normally, however, it comes down to our flesh, wanting its own way, seeking its own pleasure, thinking it knows better.
You see, God had a plan for His people. But there was something in the way. The Amalekites. They had their first encounter when they fled Egypt. The Amalekites picked off the weak, the elderly, the young, the feeble that were at the back of the pack of the mass exodus. Attacking in this fashion was their M.O. The Israelites had been their target continuously since then. But their time was up. I say again, God had a plan for his people. The Messiah was going to come through them, and keeping them from extinction consisted of stringent requirements. And this divine directive in particular was not up for debate. But Saul, he got distracted.

 The Amalekites in the Bible are a type of the flesh.  And just like Saul was to utterly destroy them and their livestock. Everything. We are to utterly destroy our flesh. Even the bits we find entertaining. Even the parts we justify as not that bad. Because God knows that its those parts of our flesh that we let hang around, its those that will destroy us. 

There are obvious sins, like sexual sins, slander, lies, stealing, cheating, etc. It is crucial with sexual sins especially to utterly destroy. I have heard of men that struggle with pornography, but refuse to limit their internet access with filters and accountability guards. That is a risk that will likely end badly.  But there are also the less obvious sins. Undercover sins like pride. Pride has so many faces, and shows itself in so many ways. It is one of the most insidious and destructive sins because it can hide so easily, and grow so quickly.


Your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 8:14

  In the moment to moment, I pray that my first reaction would be God. That in the day to day, I would not forget my utter dependence and complete need for the Lord. Anything else is pride.

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4
 If we are not being loving, 9 times out of 10, the root is pride. Check yourself……before you wreck yourself…….lol

 Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor. Proverbs 18:12

The first part of destroying pride in our lives is identifying it, and understanding how dangerous it is. I pray that God would bring to light those Amalekites in our lives, from the obvious to the hidden and that we would take drastic measures to utterly destroy them and see His glory revealed!

*seriously, when the title is this catchy, just know its Julie. If it’s mildly funny or lame? It’s me. lol!