Monday, April 30, 2012

2 Samuel 21

Merab was first promised to David; but he was prevented from taking her as his wife.  If she had gone with him, would their children be in danger with this request?  I love how God just cuts that situation right out of play with the preemptive groom switch (and the subsequent barrenness of Michal).  It may have been hard back then; but it would have proven much more difficult emotionally, politically later.  Thank You God for Your preemptive provisions - especially when I do not understand them.  Please increase my faith and trust in the goodness of Your hand and increase my scope of spiritual vision to comprehend the grace You afford me and others.  Lord, You are good and what You do it good, right and perfect.  I praise You for Your Omni-omni-omni'd-ness.  You are All in All.

I love, God, how You divinely allow the giants to continue to be a threat; but You continue to grant the victory.  I praise You for Your unfailing faithfulness.  I praise You for those You gave to protect David; as he sought You, You looked out for Him in the small and large ways.  Your plans are not messed with nor ever foiled.  Only You.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

2 Samuel 20

Joab was over Israel’s entire army...

Joab was able to speak frank truth to the king, he had a heart for his men and the country, he knew how to be a warrior, how to listen to wisdom (even from a woman), represent the goal and move towards it wisely yet circumspectly. He could do well the difficult things war and soldiering demand of a person. He was soldier-smart. I hope he knew God.

Lord, You have given us, those made in Your image, tremendous potential and we can do well many things. However, the most important thing is knowing You, responding to You, heeding You. Without You, we will only impact this temporal realm – and not for Your Kingdom. I echo Paul, please let me consider, prioritize, emphasize all that I have, can do, have done or am associated with be nothing compared to You and without You. I need You to teach me how to live with You as and at my life’s center. May I make You famous as Joab did David, hearten me for the difficult tasks, strengthen me and grant me discernment that i not make it about me.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

2 Samuel 19

"Don’t I know that today I am king over Israel?”

Lord, may I know today and live today who I am in You; and grant this every day following for which You bestow me breath.  May I walk in the fulfillment of all You have entrusted me to steward, that You may have much fame and glory in this corner of Your Kingdom. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

2 Samuel 18

The king answered, “I will do whatever seems best to you.” ... “Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake.”

Humility, taking advice from his advisers, imploring mercy for one who does not deserve it.  Brokenhearted over the loss of his son, his traitorous enemy.

Lord God, I praise You.  Lord Christ, You were the ultimate example of humbleness and humility, taking on the form of a man, doing only what the Father said to do - His will, whatever was best to Him, was what You did.  You plead mercy for us with Your life and severe sacrifice - me, your perfidious rebel.  And Your divine emotion for Your people, Your chosen and adopted chosen ones. Oh, how You love.  May I return the gift, to the praise of Your great and tender Name.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

2 Samuel 17

David continues to find favor with God, even when he fails to look to God.  David continues to find favor with the people, too.  

God of David and even me, I thank You and praise You that Your favor is not dependent on me or my understanding of a situation.  Please grant me vision to better see, determine where and how Your favor is surrounding me, that I may better praise You. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2 Samuel 16

restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.

I praise You Father that Your covenant is a blessing and a faithful one, at that.

the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. 

Lord, keep me from giving or receiving advice like one who inquires of You. Ensure, O God of Eternity that I am one who inquires of You and that any words I offer or receive are words that result from Your inspiration.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

First World Babylon problem: 4.24.12

Got "fussed" at (with really large hand gestures and questionably mouthed words/explitives) by a semi-truck driver in the parking lot of (you guessed it) WalMart because I was temerarious enough to be in my appropriate lane and attempt to exit reasonably when he wanted to take both lanes and turn into the gas station. I should refrain from my madcap activities in public.

2 Samuel 15

“As surely as the LORD lives, and as my Lord the King lives, wherever my Lord the King may be, whether it means life or death, there will Your servant be.”

Lord, may I live and die by these words to You.  My Lord the Sovereign King of the Universe, You gave David the kingship and the kingdom, I hate that he so easily relinquished Your gift and trust.  Please help me to cherish and fiercely defend that which You have entrusted, appointed and anointed me to do.  May I fear no one; but You.  May I revere no one's opinion over or even close to Yours.  May I be and do all that You have created me to and may I make You famous in my life.

Monday, April 23, 2012

1 Corinthians 5:11-13

But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?  God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

(The Message: But I am saying that you shouldn't act as if everything is just fine when a friend who claims to be a Christian is promiscuous or crooked, is flip with God or rude to friends, gets drunk or becomes greedy and predatory. You can't just go along with this, treating it as acceptable behavior. I'm not responsible for what the outsiders do, but don't we have some responsibility for those within our community of believers? God decides on the outsiders, but we need to decide when our brothers and sisters are out of line and, if necessary, clean house.)

We are Spirit-bearers, our godliness is always more important than our comfort.  Consider that if we are living godly lives, then we are teachable.  We have humility to receive correction and in that same spirit to give it (Spirit-led words, not mouthy, sassy, "church" talk).  But, like house cleaning, we do a bit at a time, not a major overhaul (not an Extreme Home Makeover nor a Hoarder's episode but a Pledge commercial - gentle strokes with the soft cloth of the Word) ... so, as we seek to have a "clean" life, we will be able to pass on the cleaning tips to our sisters and brothers.  The Spirit will direct us when we seek His guidance.   

Also, I was reminded of 1 Peter, where (I know this is directed at suffering; but it still speaks to right behavior) we are told to stop living like the Gentiles - that time is over.  We must look different, be different from the "pagans" or non-believers for both the world's sake and the church's.  (For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery ...). 

 It continues with the admonition to be sober-minded and self-controlled for the sake of your prayers.  My prayers are adversely impacted when I fail to be Spirit-restrained, contained and maintained.  It makes sense; but I don't always operate that way.  (so, please, those of you who know me, encourage me along the way everlasting.  don't allow me to get away with poser-Christianity-behavior for fun's sake or worse.  it's serious stuff.)  Help me.  Call me on it, as God directs.  I ask you to be gentle; but I'd rather you be merely obedient if gentleness can't accompany the message (sometimes, the message is hard and it's all the messenger can do to speak the words).  

Peter's letter sort of addresses this, too with his next words, (Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. ).  Good stewards of God's varied grace. That's us.  Earnest lovers of one another and good grace stewards.  (that's a good reminder for me to begin Monday!).  

Peter addresses our behavior in that he charges us to not suffer as murderers or thieves or evil doers or meddlers (can I enrich the concepts of evil doer and meddler as gossips, fear-mongers, jealous ones, insecure brats, liars, prideful, manipulators, untrusting, mean girls, bullies, hyper-competitors); because any suffering we do as Christians should glorify God, not shame His Name.   

And finally, the verse which first came to mind: 17For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God ... (v. 18) “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"  Judgment must happen at the household of God and move out for (v. 7) The end of all things is at hand.  Grace and love must be our MO's; we can't be some maniacal church chicks and gents whipping out behavior tickets like crazy.  NO ONE would receive that and we would not glorify God in that.  

When God directs a word to be spoken you know it.  Prayer is very likely where you received the word, so pursue in prayer until you know where and how or have the peace and commitment to speak what He has shown you.  Take Him seriously.  It's difficult as we are not perfect.  But do not buy the lie that you have no right to talk to another person because you are so far from perfect yourself.  Ask God to show you where you are off, where the things of the world inform your behavior (rather than the Words of God, the Spirit's giftings and He that lives within you)  that you may have greater humility in your words.    You may find that you have a particular humility in that area or with that person, too.  

God does not need us, He does choose to use us.  We can speak into others lives as we need and desire to have the words spoken to us; the goal is being led to repentance.  And God help us if we, by our passive ways give approval to ungodly behavior in ourselves and among our brothers and sisters. 

Being mindful of the latter verses of Romans 1 and the first verses of Romans 2:  ... being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil ; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice ; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful ; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.  1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself ; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly  falls upon those who practice such things. 3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God ? 4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance ?

Repentance from within first.  A  clean home/temple.  We will either be a good example or a terrible warning.  But, we choose.

None of this should be construed as a "go ahead and have that predator over for dinner." Do not share a meal (back in the ancient times, when you broke bread/shared a meal with a person meant that you were pledging yourself to him - you would protect him, you would guard him with your life, etc. { Light Through an Eastern Window by The Right Reverend Bishop Karnam C. Pillai, D.D}) is not quite the same as running into each other at Taco Bell or the cafe at Barnes and Noble.  
But, in no way do I ever want to be mild concerning obvious sin in a sister's/brother's life. It does need to be addressed...even though, they do know better. Interestingly enough, I actually encountered someone I know , (from church many years ago and never, ever see) who is living large in SIN this weekend and I didn't say a word to her regarding her choices. It didn't not occur to me to say word one to her. I wonder why. She and her husband are years gone from the church and they have a long history of not "preferring me" (that's probably not a small list, either =} ); but I don't think their lack of affection for me is why I did not think to speak to the issue.  I am challenged with what should be my response.... Other than grief. I am prayerful for this matter and for all of us as we seek to let the Word be our life.

2 Samuel 14

God, I see such passion and strength in this family, one cousin sets up a (bad, bad) scenario for his cousins, another nephew cares for his uncle, a son cared for his sister’s cause, a cousin works for reconciliation of his family members, a son is banished, fields are burned in retort. I am reminded of the quote “with great power must come greater responsibility.” Good choices were not always made – despite the intentions. I know, my Lord, that You see my intentions; but I am responsible for my actions, too. I do not want to have a scorched earth policy when it comes to my friends, family and spiritual siblings. Only You know how to wield power perfectly, how to evoke the right responses, how to bring glory to Your Name without sullying it. I need Your wisdom, Your properly placed and prioritized passions, Your plan for life, else I will burn, banish and batter Your Name, people and the opportunities You place before me. Purify my emotions, my motives and my heart – me. Help me, in stillness and trust, to wait and cooperate with Your holy, sacred cleansing work. May I walk according to Your way-everlasting, glorify Your Name alone and serve You faithfully in word, deed, thought and strength. You, and no other.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

2 Samuel 13

AARRGGGHHHH!!!! Sometimes, family is the worst, safe place, the advice is toxic and the consequences are horrendous. Grudges are not easily forgotten, revenge is planned full-time and vulnerabilities are huge. Lord, even when we think we are well-off in our personal lives, minimally dysfunctional in our “happy,” little families, not nearly as complicated as someone else we know; as we know no differently, we are still messed up. I need You more than ever to be my Counselor, my Advisor, my Relationship-Director. I.NEED.YOU. Left to my own ways, I would ruin generations of family members, violate the trust and sacred responsibilities of motherhood, sisterhood, daughterhood, wife. God, my motives are impure and selfish. I have a flare for the pushed-envelop. I bore easily and distract even quicker. God, I would (and have) annihilate anything good in my life if I were my own manager. I praise You that You are my Authority, my Governor, my Teacher, my Standard and my Indwelling Spirit. You are Holy and You bring the holy to me; Your holiness and purpose transform my immoral and amoral proclivities and passions. You inform my conscience. You change my priorities. God, I thank You that I am not who I have been and that You have not and will not relinquish me to my sin and stinkin’ flesh nature. I pray that in the “course of time” that I would grow more in love with You and my flesh would better crucified on a daily basis. I choose to serve You not me, not my flesh, not my preference. I choose You, my God, my Savior, my Rock and Redeemer. I thank You that You do not ignore wrong, You do not disengage when sin happens, You remember who has done what and to whom. And that Your willing payment covers all of this I do and that is done by others. Curious, yet perfect. I praise Your plan and Your knowledge.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

2 Samuel 12

The LORD sent Nathan to David.
Thank You Lord Jesus that You came for us, thank You Lord, that You send people to us and us to people, thank You my God that You care about all the details of Your people and You have people to send. Cultivate holiness, purity, integrity, Yourself in us. Make sure Your harvest is worthy, prune and shape us in order that we would be more like Yourself, my Messiah. Redeeming and delivering – You are faithful and too kind. I praise You.

If someone steals an ox or sheep and then kills or sells it, the thief must pay back five oxen for each ox stolen, and four sheep for each sheep stolen. Exodus 22:1 Lord, David knew the law well. Please keep me from taking liberty with Your law, especially when I know it as well as You have allowed me to. May I honor You with my response to Your commands.

because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own….
Lord, make this truth permeate my inmost thoughts: when I take that which You have not given me, I sin and in that act, I am despising You. I do not want to despise You in word, deed or thought. Keep me far from sin and unbelief.

Meanwhile Joab fought … Father, sin is devastating; but life continues. Please help me not get distracted from Your Kingdom’s cause by sin, unbelief or the devastation which comes with the death sin brings. Keep me on focused, Holy Spirit please, on the work I was made for; direct me to that yieldedness which comes only from You.

Friday, April 20, 2012

2 Samuel 11

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war …

Lord, Commander of All, please help me to not believe that there is a time of year for war and that I can schedule it. May I always remember that the battle is 1. always Yours, 2. relentlessly ongoing, 3. ever present, 4. significantly precedent of all things in my life except my relationship with You. Don’t let me be deceived into thinking that it is about me, either. Keep me from judging that the battle is in one arena, for something else; lest i begin walking in weakness in my personal life. And when I screw things up completely, please help me to run to You. May Your praises ever be on my lips when I walk the “strong” walls of my familiar territory. Keep my heart as Yours. Keep my mind on You. Keep my passions and devotion bound up with Your Name. You are the King, You are the Warrior, You are the Authority. Holy Spirit, please align my heart, soul and mind with the Glorious, Sacred, the Divine. To You and Your rule – to the praise of Your Name.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

2 Samuel 10

Joab said, “If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to come to my rescue; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come to rescue you. Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The LORD will do what is good in his sight.”

Lord, as believers, Christ-followers, You have set us up to be folks who have each other's backs.  You don't toss any of us alone into the ring of starving dogs with a pork-chop around our necks.  You are with us always and Your plan includes the brothers and sisters You have divinely and strategically provided for each of us.  Lord, help us, especially me, be quick to come to the aid of those in the ring, to intercede, to be brave, to fight bravely for our Kingdom neighbors and Your great Name.  Lord God, I recognize and am challenged that Your Kingdom is not just our little gathering; but it the ones down the street, the across town and all the way unto the uttermost parts of the world.  Great Provider and Strategist, I pray Your perfect provision, sacred strength and warrior-wise mentality on those in the cross-hairs of the enemy.  God, lift them up, encourage their hearts and souls, have mercy and recruit from the very camp of the enemy.  I praise You that You always do good, for You are always good.  But help us to not forget those that we do not yet know.  Tender our hearts to pray faithfully and aggressively for Your Kingdom's residents and Your great Plan to unfold.  Grant us hearts and passions of Kingdom-rescuers.  Let us not miss an opportunity because of our luxury, our comfort or our distractibility.  Help us fight those battles that we may be effective for such a time as this.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

First World Babylon Situation: 4.18.12

My dog just got an e-card for her birthday. Gotta tell ya, that is NOT her love language.

2 Samuel 9

David, God-lover, king, warrior, conqueror, husband of many, father of more, businessman, son, brother, psalmist, strategist, communicator … still made sure he looked around to see who he could show kindness to from his friend’s family.

Thank You LORD that while You are maintaining the universe and the Heaven where You dwell, ever mindful of every detail of everything, You take time to show kindness to me, to answer prayer, to affirm Your presence and purpose to this needy girl. Praise Your ever loving Name. Only You would esteem one such as me. I thank You. May i live in gratitude to You, every day, every decision, every detail.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

First World Babylon Problem: 4.17.12

Sitting in a local cafe waiting for my kids' academic evaluations (the yearly testing) to conclude and I.AM.FREEZING. but still drinking my iced tea.

First World Babylon Problem 4.17.12

Taxes are due today, two days later than normal.  Our are not ready, accountant could only give an estimate of what we owe.

2 Samuel 8

David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.

Justice and rightness…for all ‘his people.’ Lord God, that is what we need for leaders of our country, our states, our towns, our homes …. Father and Sovereign, please raise up people whose hearts are Yours, whose desires are to obey You and whose priorities are just and right for all ‘their people.’ Holy Spirit, please help me to do that which You have created me to do that I may bring You glory and expand Your Kingdom purpose and boundaries in this time. To the praise and fame of Your very great and sacred Name.

Monday, April 16, 2012

2 Samuel 7

the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him
thank You LORD God, that You give rest from enemies, wherever they come from.  Only You. 

Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.

Father, there is no out-giving You.  No one can up the ante when You are involved.  You trump all, You own all and You are all.  You alone have the imagination, the power, the authority, the knowledge the God-ness to do that which You please.  I praise You and I am amazed by Your graciousness in dealing with the people who inhabit Your world.  You are so very considerate and kind to me.  Thank You.

First World Babylon Problem 4.16.12

A family member has to walk all the way to the fridge in the garage to get another carton of orange juice.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

2 Samuel 6

... she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD ...  When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, "How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today" ... David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, ... I will celebrate before the LORD."

David, the long-awaited king, hand-picked by the Sovereign of the Universe, was undignified before the LORD, nevermind the others, and he celebrated fully abandoned before his God.  He concluded the festivities and went home to bless his household.  Michal meets him and berates him for his actions. 

It's the tension in this marriage that gives me pause.  He has just worshiped the LORD with his whole heart (and I imagine he was wild in his devotion to God - would love to see what that looked like - Lord, grant me a heart and the ability to respond as David did to You) and is probably on a spiritual high.  His intention is to bless his home and the people when he returns.  He worships and is inclined to bless generously.

 Wifey failed to accompany him on the worship trip and now she mockingly scolds him for his passion for God.  Wonder why she stayed home.  Wonder why she didn't wish to celebrate God, too.  Wonder why she didn't understand his zeal for God, her God.  I am ever more appreciative of my husband, who does not worship like me; but he does not give me a failing grade for my interactions and estimation of our God. 

Thank You Lord, for the equal yoking You have provided for me.  I appreciate Your wisdom in this guideline for marriage.  I am grateful, too, to see that true worship yields blessing and grace to the home.  It may take away from the time with the family unit; but it does not cheat the individuals of anything.  Holy Spirit, please grant me the words and discernment to encourage the individual worship styles of those in whom I invest.  May I direct them to You, always, and not deter them.  Let me not tolerate or passively endorse anything which would detract or discourage another from a full-on encounter and hearty response to You.  We all want to dance like David did - please allow us to not be deceived into thinking that worship must fit our prescribed pattern or dull description.  Help me to encourage and support my husband to fulfill God's design for his life.  May You be praised in my little life and may the choices I make bring You much glory.  

And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.  

Lord, did her spiritual barrenness (her choice) yield her physical infertility?  Lord, keep me from bad choices, faithless verdicts and spiritless selections.  Even when a thing is foreign to my perspective, if it is of You, I want the scope of vision and imagination to be able to embrace it.  Only by Your hand, Your Spirit and Your power.  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

2 Samuel 5

The LORD answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.”

May I always seek and wait for You to deliver the enemy into my hands. May I never step out ahead of You nor dally far behind. Lord, on Your Word, on Your mark, in Your power and to Your Kingdom be all glory, victory and honor. Make me strong for the battle, Father, that I may bring Your glory.

Friday, April 13, 2012

2 Samuel 4

Ish-bosheth - Man of shame
Mephibosheth - Exterminating the idol  (Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon)

Curious the name Saul gave to his son, and even curiouser the name Saul's grandson had.  Because of the similarities, it seemed perhaps the grandson had been named after the uncle .... With the meanings, it just sends my mind a wondering.

Lord, I don't know why the names were what they were; but somehow in the telling of the bloody and treacherous demise of Ish-bosheth, You divinely include, almost as a tangent (and I praise You that You have sacred tangents), an interlude of Mephibosheth, the five year old.  I am blessed by Your literary and historical interruption; but I am also challenged that every detail is important to You.  That while significant matters of state, deeds of deception and concerns of corruption occur, You are in full awareness of the injuries and accidents of little ones.  Nothing escapes Your attention, Your plan, Your design.  While You allow the evil to flourish and You allow misadventures to unfold; nothing that comes to pass or fails to be revealed is random.  Not one thing is happenstance, mischance, oops.  Every encounter, stumble, nap, relationship, betrayal has a purpose in Your holy schedule.  May I trust You more in these oh, so difficult and seemingly unfair times.  God, I want to believe Your hand is good at these collisions of reality and my expectations; because I know You are good.  May I react first in praise and secondly in trust - where I have more and more reasons to trust You and in You.  Your Name is Jesus and I need a Savior.  You are that Savior.  May this truth illumine my every thought, plan and reaction.  I praise You!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2 Samuel 3

I thank You my Father-King that You are the Eternal King – there will never be a conflict for who inherits Your position, nor a rite of succession nor a war for Your throne as You never leave it empty. Although Your authority is highly desired; it belongs only to You. forever. No one can or will wrest it from Your hands. You are King. No one else. Ever.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

2 Samuel 2

Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their fellow Israelites?

The sword would devour forever, Lord, because without You, we are hopeless and hatefilled.  Only You can refute the bitterness of the empty soul, only You can stop the consuming pursuit and destruction of brothers.  Please help me to participate in and with Your plan rather than feeding the hunger of the sword.  I want to honor You, not cause pain and devastation.  To You alone belong power and glory and might, majesty, grace and wisdom.  May I praise You with my life.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

2 Samuel 1

“I am the son of a foreigner, an Amalekite,” he answered.

Lord God, the Amalekites figured critically in the pronouncement of Saul's downfall - reference Agag.  Now one is claiming to have been instrumental in  moving Saul from this life into the next.  Saul chose the Amalekite (Agag) over God, Dave chose God over the son of the foreigner.  Father, help this heart to be mine - one that chooses You over any and every other situation, opportunity, scenario

"... The weapons of war have perished!”  

Thank You God for giving David a delightful way with words.  I love his honoring of his king and his very good friend.

Monday, April 9, 2012

1 Samuel 31

Then Saul said to his armorbearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised men come and thrust me through and abuse me.” ... So it happened ... the Philistines came ... they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. And they cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and sent word throughout the land of the Philistines, to proclaim it in the temple of their idols and among the people. Then they put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.

Saul was convinced in life that David was his enemy; in death, Saul recognized what the enemy was and was capable of.  I wonder if David had been at his side if the end would have been like this....

Lord Warrior and God of my Life, please be honored in my living, my relating and my dying.  Please grant me vision to recognize the enemy and his work; discernment to not confuse precious if also peculiar people with perilous pitfalls; strength to refrain from empowering the nemesis in my life or promoting his platform by my reactions.  God, I desire to bring You glory from obedience and submission, not from being a terrible warning or tragic example.  Nonetheless, Your will be done, in my life as it is in Heaven.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

1 Samuel 30

So it was, from that day forward; he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.

Saul still sat on the throne; but David made good and honorable decisions – sound policies which benefited the men fighting and those who would be left with supplies. He did not cop an attitude because he was not on the throne, he did not make sloppy choices as a less-than-king, he did not make selfish decisions because he could. David used his influence and success to make good choices for the people – regulations which gave provision and assurance to all of the soldiers. Maybe it’s my background, or my mercy rearing up or just the desire for goodness and fairness to prevail; but this resonates with me. I am encouraged and challenged by Dave’s decisions – perhaps ordinary but not lazy.

Lord God, I admire this quality of Your man, Dave’s. I desire to emulate this in the days and decisions of my life. May I choose wisely (I need Your Wisdom, please) and navigate circumspectly all the situations of my life. May the paths I choose, the establishments I make be lasting and beneficial solutions. I may never have political influence; but please allow my selections to be honoring to You and increase the fame of Your very precious Name.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

1 Samuel 29

The Philistines couldn't get past their first impression of David.  I see that as a mercy for David who was expected to fight against his people in this gathering.  Lord God You are never out-maneuvered by a person's history, behavior nor reputation.  I praise You that Your hand is steady and true.  Please steady me in You that my impression-given and reputation-cultivated would be worthy of one who bears Your Name.  I thank You for the opportunities You grant me and I trust in those You remove from me.  You are glorious and right in all Your dealings.

Friday, April 6, 2012

1 Samuel 28

And Saul answered, “I am deeply distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me and does not answer me anymore, neither by prophets nor by dreams. …”

So he turns to the conjurers of the dead rather than examining himself to see if he could comprehend where it all went south. Father, You have given us great capacity; as Nee put it: a latent power of the soul which could be used to keep us dependent on ourselves until the very deceptive end crashes down on us. Holy Spirit, let me not try to figure the thing out, long after You have been silent. May I always run to You, for Your direction, Your words, Your pleasure — and then may I obey completely. Even in difficulties, God I want to bring You glory. Please help me to honor Your great Name and never seek to do that which You have forbidden me to do.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

1 Samuel 27

~The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
~Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.
~All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.
~Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.
(Art of War, Sun Tzu – 6th century, BC)
I think Dave probably taught him a thing or two.

Thank You Lord, that You have given us all gifts and opportunities to use them for the advancement of Your Kingdom. May I be faithful with what You have given me to steward. And bring glory to Your Name.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

1 Samuel 26

And indeed, as your life was valued much this day in my eyes, so let my life be valued much in the eyes of the Lord, and let Him deliver me out of all tribulation.

As I honor my LORD, may He honor my obedience with blessing and deliverance. Let me esteem what Father God esteems, prioritize what You prioritize, await Your timing for Your fulfillment of Your promises and provision. Keep me from trying or even contemplating an end-round rush of Your design for my small sequence of seasons on this world. Your way, done Your way, for You are the Way. I praise You!

So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place. 

…. I don’t understand …. how can they split up when Saul faithfully promises ‘no harm’? This has happened before. How come Saul says one thing; but they act like he hasn’t said or repented at all …. it’s as if it matters not what he says … why doesn’t the king have any integrity? Why is there no resolution to this matter?

 God, my King, I thank You and praise You for Your faithful faithfulness, Your consistent constancy. That when You say a thing, it is. Period. Truth. That’s what and Who You are. May I offer a life whose words and deeds match, a steadfast and reliable witness of trustworthiness for the glory of Your great Name and the enrichment of Your Kingdom.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

1 Samuel 25

He was a Calebite.

Not from the house of Judah nor of the Kenizzites; Nabal was of the house of Caleb.  Just as Caleb's actions echoed through history, so did the exploits, enterprises and etiquette of Nabal and Abigail.  Then we see Saul, who has just made up with David and acknowledged David's coming kingship taking away Saul's own daughter and princess from the man (who is married to her already) who will be king.  Saul says he knows David will be king; but Saul removes his link to the throne.  His conduct and maneuvers reveal a great deal more of his beliefs than his words.

Behavior speaks from the heart.  Performance tells on the heart.  What a girl does displays what a girl thinks, believes, prioritizes...what she fears, values and reveres. 

Lord, may my actions, my practices, my patterns, my peculiarities speak of faith in You.  May my conduct and deeds reveal a trusting heart, one which RESTS in Your perfection and Name.  Please keep me from resisting Your hand.  Holy Spirit, so inhabit my mind and self that You are the knee-jerk reaction, not me.  None of me.  Even when I want to wrest the arrangements back into my (faithless) hands, keep me still, reminding me that You alone are God - I can't afford to be anything, nothing but still before You.

Monday, April 2, 2012

1 Samuel 24

I am still struck by David's conversations with God; he does not seek a holy man to make inquiry for him, he talks with the Lord, Himself.  And David listens to God and follows God's instructions.  Even when men, trusted men, exhort him to act on his own, Dave still heeds his God's words - despite the fact they were spoken in the past.  God, I want to listen and comply like David.  Help me to remember Your words, Your promises, Your provision that I would live the trust life not the trust-fund life.    You are my Wisdom, my Strength, my Shield.

I am still saddened by Saul's missing God.  He sees David as the one who saved him and does not turn his eyes nor his praise to the Lord.  Saul knows the language; but he has not the relationship.   LORD God of All, please help me to never see people more than I see You in my life.  I desire to pursue knowing You with all of my heart; but I often get distracted by the personnel and problems which come my way.  Lord, You are the One who directs the hearts of kings, so certainly You direct the hearts of commoners.  Please direct my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may see first my God everywhere, in every circumstance and then see the physical.  Divine Instructor, teach me to relate in the spiritual preemptively that I may triumph in the physical, for the praise and fame of the Sovereign King of the Universe.  Lord Jesus, I seek Your example to be my discipline.   May I walk in Your yielded and noble path, bringing You glory and blessing.  Not my name; but Yours. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

First World Babylon Problem 4.1.12

"You could win a year of movie nights"

What if I don't want to win a year of movie nights?  What if I only want a couple of months, non-consecutive....

1 Samuel 23

Therefore David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”
God, I want this to be my attitude. I never ask You if I should go and attack any enemies. Please remind me that I can be aggressive in Your Name against Your enemy, by Your leave.

And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines, and save Keilah.”
May I do as You say, Lord God.

But David’s men said to him, “Look, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?”
Father, You know this is so much more like me; I am afraid in my little suburban lifestyle, how much more so if I were to go and step out in battle against a real enemy. Let me prefer to seek to go and attack rather than being passive and frightened. To the praise of Your glorious Name.

Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.
Precious God and Savior, You are my Strength. I praise You. Please help me to be the friend who strengthens others hands in Your Name. Help me to point them to You, lift them up to You and encourage them in Your love. Thank You.