Saturday, May 31: 2Samuel 6- Hear and motives right, methods wrong.

David’s heart was in the correct place. He was motivated by good intentions… but his methods were wrong. His priests did not follow the directions of the Law. Should David have known this? Probably. The king was to attend to God’s law. Whether intentional, or more likely unintentional, Israel did not move the Ark in the prescribed way. And when Uzzah reached out and touched it, God’s judgment was swift and irrevocable. Uzzah died then and there!

This account reminds me that we must know the Word. Having a ‘good’ heart is not enough. We are to live according to God’s Word and ignorance is not bliss!

Although in this case God seems cruel, rules are rules and ignorance is no excuse. 

Decades ago my wife, a claims adjuster, arrived at an accident scene. The young man at fault was driving a semi loaded with steel banding. Coming down a hill into a small town his breaks could not hold the truck and it crashed. Its load ripped off the truck and flattened a parked car. Fortunately no one was hurt.

The police office had a list of violations. Non-employees were in the cab (his wife and baby were riding with him). Breaks faulty, the young driver had failed to adequately perform the pre-trip safety checkup. The log books were kept incorrectly, leading to many violations. The list continued. This new driver was honestly sorry, and kept saying “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”

He had a good heart, he didn’t mean to do it but his ignorance could have killed many people including him and his family.

How we live and what we do matters. The way to know how to live and what to do and not do, is to know God’s Word.

This is what the Lord is saying to me this morning… How about you? What is the Lord saying to you?

Father, thank You for Your Word!  I love You and I love Your Word. Teach me through it how to live so that my life pleases You. Through Jesus, in the Spirit’s Power, I pray. Amen.


Friday, May 30: 2Samuel 5- Not years per se but dedication.

David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years (4-5).

I did a little math, 30 when David becomes king over all Israel means he was 23 when he became king of Judah. As I recall, he was running from Saul 2-3 years so he was about 20 when he became a ‘general in Saul’s army’ and probably an older teen when he killed Goliath.

In other words, David was fairly young when his strong faith in the Lord began to be evident!

So it is not years, per se, but dedication and love of the Lord and willingness to press into Him that develops faith, wisdom and faith-maturity.

For however many years you have been walking with the Lord, how well have you used your years? Have you stayed on the fringes of the faith dabbling, but never pressing in? Or have you sought the Lord, poured yourself into His Word, spent time consistently with the Lord in prayer and listening???

The writer to the Hebrews comments: Hebrews 5:12, In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!

How have you used your years with the Lord? How have I… think about it and consider how you will use the years you have left...

Dedication, not merely years, breeds maturity…

Lord, help me to ramp up my dedication to You, to use my days, weeks and years wisely in growing in You and serving You. This I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.



Thursday, May 29: 2Samuel 4- Heartless.

It is tough to have a devotional moment in today’s reading. History is not always kind. People can and do horrible things. These two men were the worst kind of bounty hunters. They killed an unsuspecting, innocent man in his home and brought his head to David thinking that they would get a reward. There was no honor in their deed. None.

David’s reward was their execution.

This was a rough time in history. Remember God’s ‘eye for an eye’ rule was given to curb revenge and escalating violence.

I am thankful that I live in a more civil time, not a better time.  People are still as corrupt of heart now as was then, but there is more civility in our land where the rule of law –as imperfect as it is- exists.

All of these musings cause me to realize how heartless and selfish the human heart is. When the Paul says, there is no one righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10) he is absolutely correct.

And this led me to give thanks to the Lord for the righteousness He provides in Jesus. Without God’s righteousness, I would be doomed to hell and eternal separation from God through eternity. And without the power and influence of the Holy Spirit within me as a believer, I could be just as prone to physical, emotional or spiritual violence against other unsuspecting people as those two men were in this chapter…

This is not a pleasant thought… but thanks be to God for Jesus Christ and life in Him.

Lord, thank You for saving grace! Lord, God, thank You for grace to grow and mature in Christ! Lord, thank You for guiding me and directing me. Forgive me for the times I do not listen, these are too numerous to count. Thank You for never giving up on me. Continue to speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.

I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Wednesday, May 28: 2Samuel 3-. What a gift forgiveness is.

I wondered what it was like to be Joab and to harbor bitterness and the desire for revenge for years. Does bitterness eat away at you inside? Does it make you a hard, heartless person? Do you lay awake at night dreaming of revenge? I don’t know.

What I do know from this chapter is that Joab, given an opportunity to kill Abner unsuspectingly, took it!

Yes, Abner had killed Joab’s brother but that was in battle. And I recall that Abner even tried to have Joab’s brother stop pursuing him. Only after the warning did Abner kill the young man.

But Joab kills Abner in cold blood! How much hatred must have built up in Joab?

As I reflected on Joab, I thought about the gift of forgiveness. Through forgiveness, God allow us to release vengeance, hatred, bitterness and all their rotten cousins to Him!

What a gift forgiveness is… what a gift.

I marveled and thanked God for the gift of forgiveness… God’s forgiveness of us and God’s empowering of us to forgive others as we have been forgiven by Him.

Thank You, Lord!!!! Thank You for forgiveness. Amen


Tuesday, May 27: 2Samuel 2- Staying connected with the Lord.

It was the very first sentence that arrested my attention. In the course of time, David inquired of the LORD. "Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?" he asked…

David inquired of the Lord. David sought God’s direction. David checked in with the Lord before proceeding.

It hit me. Here we see the heart of David. No fanfare. No grand stage. No prophet looking over his shoulder. From his heart came the desire to check in with the Lord before proceeding.

A simple statement, yet it points to a profound personal behavior. David stayed connected with God and desired God’s direction and leading.

Another example of a ‘man after God’s own heart!’

David’s example caused me to look at my own life. Do I do as David did? Really, do I?

Lord, to be a man after Your own heart… may that be true of me, Lord. May it be true of me.

Lord, where I need to grow and mature… work in me. Where I need more dedication and persistence in following and seeking You… encourage me. Where I need deeper personal self-examination… enlighten me.

Lord, I pray this so that I might be a tool in Your hand for reaching the nations and bringing glory to Your name. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Monday, May 26: 2Samuel 1- Keeping our heart from bitterness.

When David hears the news of Saul’s death, he grieves. Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan… (11-12).

The scene hit me. David had been running for years from Saul who had tried on multiple occasions to kill him. David professed his allegiance to Saul, the Lord’s anointed. BUT I wondered after all those years for running and mistreatment and lies, how did David keep his heart from becoming bitter and angry against Saul, his pursuer?

The scriptures do not give an answer to my question; I continued to ponder this question.

God promises peace to those whose mind is stayed on Him…

God’s Word teaches that forgiveness, true forgiveness, blesses and protects one’s heart…

Scripture repeatedly teaches that God answers our prayers…

Maybe David kept his heart ‘stayed’ on the Lord. Maybe David truly forgave Saul for his misdeeds. Maybe David asked the Lord to protect his heart as he ran from Saul.

I do not know. Nor will I ever know what David did but somehow he was able to keep his heart from growing bitter against Saul.

This gives me hope that I, too, do not have to give into bitterness with rivals or those who hurt and repeatedly hurt me maliciously.

And this shows me that following Jesus truly can and will make a difference in my life.

I hope you know the wonder of grace through a life that is growing in God –Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit. If you do not know this wonder and grace then please speak with the Lord right now and pledge your allegiance and love to God as Lord and Savior.

Lord, God, thank You for teaching me Your ways. I have much still to learn, but my life is all the richer for knowing and following You and Your Word. Amen.


Saturday, May 24: 1Samuel 31- The end comes for all of us.

And so Saul dies… along with his sons. No fanfare for a king and little honor as he falls on his sword to avoid capture by the Philistines.

I don’t give much thought to my own mortality. And I certainly don’t want to live with the reality of death looming over me all the time. But there probably is some wisdom to take stock in the fact that everyone dies. Some may live into their 90s, others decades less, but we all die some day. And compared to eternity (if I take Scripture at its word) 20, 50, 90, 110 amounts to little more than a blip on the screen. So it seems prudent to occasionally take stoke in the reality of death and ask, “Am I living so that after death I gain the reward of life forever more with God in heaven?” An eternity of torment in hell is a frightening thought.

And so today I ponder my mortality. I am far from perfect and if life came down to a balance scale I wonder how I would fare.

But I don’t have to worry about whether I am better than most, insuring I make the cut. I don’t have to worry because the Bible describes a grace-filled road to eternity, faith in Jesus Christ.

Jesus has promised salvation and eternal life to all who believe in Him. John 3:16 is one such promise. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

With this thought, my pondering morphed to praise and thanksgiving to my God -Father, Son and Holy Spirit- for providing a guaranteed way of salvation. No worry, just living faith in Jesus.

I hope you know the joy of salvation as well…

Thank You, Father. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Holy Spirit. Alleluia. Amen.


Friday, May 23: 1Samuel 30-Where do you turn when life is hard.

Where do you run when heartache is heavy? Where do you go when trouble strikes?

Homes destroyed, family members carried off and kidnapped, belongings and livestock stolen, this is what David and his men found when they came home. Their lives were decimated.

They wept until they had no more tears (4). The men spiraled into bitterness against David. But David found strength in the LORD his God (6).

That sentence gripped me. God, it seems, was speaking with me.  “Bill, here is a man after My heart!” When the stuff of life hits and hits HARD, David turned to the Lord. “Bill, this is a lesson to learn….”

Not only did David find strength in the Lord, he sought the Lord for direction, “Lord, what shall I do? Pursue the raiders”… (see 8-9).

In times of crisis God will lead and guide. Question is, do I (we) turn to Him for direction and advice??? David did. My second tidbit for this morning.

Lord, help me to grow in dependence upon You. Help me to trust You in the storms, to seek You, listen to You and follow You during the storms and sunny days of life. Lord, help me to turn to You as first resort, not last resort. This I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.



Thursday, May 22: 1Samuel 29- Grooming us for future assignments .

What would David do? Would he fight for Achish against Saul and the Hebrews? Would he turn from Achish and fight for Israel? The text is silent, so any attempt to answer these questions is pure speculation. The Lord orchestrated things so that David did not have to make that decision.

How often does the Lord intervene in my life (in your life) so that we don’t have to endure some difficult decision or situation? I don’t know. Again, any attempt to answer this would be pure speculation. But this account underscores the reality that the Lord God is always at work often in the background working out His will. So when we are walking faithfully, living as God would have us live, doing the things God has for us to do, then it is quite possible that God has steered our lives away from certain problems so that we can do particular things for Him.

In David’s case we mustn’t forget that God has declared and anointed David the next king of Israel and God is watching over him, protecting and grooming him for the years ahead.

And God is likely grooming us for future assignments as well… to the end that His will is done. Alleluia. Amen.

Lord, thank You for allowing me to be part of Your kingdom.  Thank you for using me in ways of Your choosing and design to bring about Your will that the name of Jesus will be known to the ends of the earth so that in Your time the end will come and Your kingdom will reign forever and ever. Alleluia. Amen.


Wednesday, May 21: 1Samuel 28- Forsaking the Lord for anything expedient .

Reading this chapter I remembered a verse from Ecclesiastes, When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider… (Ecc. 7:14a). The second clause is what came to mind. When times are bad, consider… when things are bad consider your life, consider what’s going on and evaluate your life.

This is one thing that Saul did not do. When the Lord would not answer him, instead of considering his life and walk with the Lord, Saul turned to a medium! That’s right, Saul turned to something detestable to the Lord!!!

His true colors are now truly showing through and he is forsaking the Lord for anything expedient.

The Spirit’s whisper came to me. “Bill, want to avoid Saul’s fate? Remember My Word. When times are bad, consider…. Bill, when you begin to stray listen to my voice I will call you home. Monitor your life and consider your ways, and come back to Me.”  

Thank You, Lord, for this wisdom. It is sad that Saul didn’t follow Your Word and Your advice. Help me, Lord, not to point fingers at Saul or anyone, but rather to pay attention to my life. Lord, help me to regularly evaluate my life according to Your Word and way and admit to You when I have slipped off the mark and am heading in the wrong direction.

Forgive my sins and cleanse me that I might life fully devoted to You. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.



Tuesday, May 20: 1Samuel 27- A quandary with the text.

This is a frustrating chapter. I am not sure what to do with it. On the surface David seems to be attacking people indiscriminately in order to plunder them and their land to provide for his family and men. This sounds like an outlaw to me. How do I square this with the 10 Commandments… ‘You shall not murder or steal’…?????

On the other hand, David shows incredible cunning, escaping to the Philistines and concocting the story about raiding Israel, all the while David and his men are raiding non-Israeli towns. Brilliant plan, shrewd and resourceful.

So I sit in a quandary as I read this morning, trying to understand and listen and learn from the Lord. I found no relief through my own pondering alone, so I consulted some commentaries. One older, well respected commentary, Keil and Delitzsch, writes this:

From Ziklag David made an attack upon the Geshurites, Gerzites, and Amalekites, smote them without leaving a man alive, and returned with much booty. The occasion of this attack is not mentioned, as being a matter of indifference in relation to the chief object of the history; but it is no doubt to be sought for in plundering incursions made by these tribes into the land of Israel. For David would hardly have entered upon such a war in the situation in which he was placed at that time without some such occasion, seeing that it would be almost sure to bring him into suspicion with Achish, and endanger his safety. The Amalekites were the remnant of this old hereditary foe of the Israelites, who had taken to flight on Saul's war of extermination, and had now assembled again (see at 1 Samuel 15:8-9). "For they inhabit the land, where you go from of old to Shur, even to the land of Egypt."

At least there is one possible resolution to my conflict with the text; David was marching against people who were raiding Israel. More consideration is needed...

Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening. Speak, Lord, Your servant is still conflicted with this chapter in Your Word. Speak, Lord, throughout the day that I may do Your bidding as You direct. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Monday, May 19: 1Samuel 26- Staying the honorable course.

Running for one’s life certainly gets old. Hiding out, keeping one step ahead of your pursuers, finding ways to make a living, moving on over and over again. This was David’s life.

And for the second time God delivers His pursuer into His hand and yet, out of respect for the Lord and His anointed, David refuses to kill Saul.

Maintaining honor for the long haul, that was David’s decision despite the voices of his lieutenants!

Keeping to the right path when all the voices, even trusted voices, are shouting change course takes internal fortitude. Doing the right thing in the eyes of the Lord can often be difficult in our world, which doesn’t acknowledge the Lord or follow His ways.

Such was David’s choice… and I pray that is my choice as well. Are you willing to strive for doing things the Lord’s way, no matter the consequences?

Think about it…

Lord, I pray for strength and fortitude to live for You today. There will be temptations to compromise. Help me to stand strong in You. Give me the fortitude David showed when he rebuked Abishi and would not take Saul’s life.

I pray this through Jesus, my Lord, who walked Calvary’s road in obedience to Your will and way. Amen.



Saturday, May 17: 1Samuel 25- Wisdom, providence and God's care.

God’s hand is with David. As he continues to hide from Saul, David makes a life for himself and his men. ‘Street wisdom’ might be a good word for David. He knows how to live. He directs his men in honorable ways as they carve out ways to provide for themselves, like caring for Nabal’s herds and herdsmen.

Even as David does what he can do, God is at work behind the scenes. The incident with Nabal is another case in point. On his way to exact punishment for Nabal’s lack of generosity, Abigal gets word and averts disaster with her gift. There is no mention that God prompted Abigail, and yet it is clear that God is the unseen force acting in the background, caring for and preparing David to be the next king of Israel as Samuel had said.

It is also worth noting that David continues to act honorably even after Samuel died. David was a man who sought God.

Considering this chapter, God’s nudge this morning is to live honorably and with as much wisdom as I can… and to allow God to work in the quiet. Even when I do not see His hand working directly, God is working out His will. And His care is upon those living for Him.

Lord, send Your Spirit that I might follow His lead today, living for You. May my life bring honor to Your name and advance Your kingdom’s rule and reign… Alleluia. Amen.


Friday, May 16: 1Samuel 24- Living honorably.

There comes a time, possibly many times, when a person will face a decision that measures his/her honor. The heading of one’s life hangs in the balance. Choose the expedient, albeit dishonorable way, and off you go, dangling on a slippery slope.

Choose the honorable path, which likely will not pay immediate dividends, and you have chosen well.

David had the king literally in his grasp, but David would not kill God’s anointed. Despicable king that Saul might have been, David would not kill him in cold blood. To do so would have been to lower himself to Saul’s level and would have violated God’s way. David said ‘no’ to killing Saul, not knowing the outcome but knowing he was doing right. He was living with honor.

How have you done when you were faced with these moments?

Looking forward, God is calling to me… “Live honorably. Choose My way. Do what is right, not necessarily expedient…”

Looking backward, God offers forgiveness for any and all of our wrong choices. Just ask forgiveness and allow the Lord to do what He does, forgive.

Lord, again, I thank You for David, a man after Your own heart. Thank You for his example of choosing rightly. Help me, Lord, to do likewise in any and all situations that come my way… I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Thursday, May 15: 1Samuel 23- Learn to ask.

David was a military man, ready to jump into action when he learned of brethren in trouble. But what I love about David is the way he consults with the Lord before jumping into action. Verse 2, 4, and 9-12 are three examples in this chapter where David pauses to inquire of the Lord before he rushes into action.

Men of action often jump first and then seek advice. Not David. Even though his heart was bent toward action, he apparently understood that the Lord offered wisdom and would direct David if David took the time to ask.

David not only asked, he acted according to the response the Lord gave. Oh, the trouble he avoided by seeking the Lord first (see 9-13).

What a great word this is for me…

ü      Learn to cultivate a heart and mind that seeks the Lord first before jumping into action!

ü      Learn to live in connection and communication with the Lord all the time, so that seeking the Lord first is as normal as breathing.

Lord, thanks for this word and this reminder today. Help me not to shelve it but to live it as I move through today and my tomorrows. David is such a good example for me to seek You before I act. He truly was a ‘man after Your own heart.’ I pray, Lord, that I can grow to be more like that… seeking You, loving You, communicating with You and consulting with You regularly about all things.

This is my prayer… In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.




Wednesday, May 14: 1Samuel 22- We are in a battle.

Reading this chapter I kept thinking about the battle between good and evil. David, the good and godly side, is aided by the neighboring country of Moab, who cares for David’s family, and the prophet Gad who comes to David to give godly advice.

Then there is Saul and his array. They are hunting down David.  And in the process they commit some heinous crimes, like killing 85 men who wore the linen ephod (18) and putting the entire town of Nod (19) to the sword. Evil can be that way… killing innocent people in order to get their way!

As I mulled over the picture above, I saw it as a caricature of life. We are in a battle, for most not as obvious as David’s but obvious or not, we are in a battle. God guiding us to safety and the evil one trying to derail us and when possible, attack us.

I thought, what do we do to survive? Stay close to the Lord. Listen to His leading directly through the Holy Spirit and also through wise sisters and brothers in the faith. And when we get off track, admit it to the Lord, ask for His forgiveness, repent and start doing what is right in the Lord’s eyes.

Lord, keep me alert in the battle. Help me to bring to bear all the weapons and tools You give to wage war in Your name. I pray this to the end that Your kingdom reigns and Your will is done here on earth as it is in heaven. Through Jesus, my Savior, I pray. Amen.




Tuesday, May 13: 1Samuel 21- We are filled with mixed motives.

David was a man who was ‘street wise.’ On the lamb and running from Saul, David turns to people who can help, but he doesn’t stay with them. In this case neither is he truthful. This always troubles me. Scripture is clear that we are to be truthful and not lie, yet David lies to both save his skin and, I suspect, to protect the priest as well. The story David gives to Ahimelech is plausible, giving Ahimelech an alibi should the king learn of this incident and question him.

Quite honestly, I am not sure how to process this.

The narrative is certainly not teaching us that it is ok to lie to get oneself out of trouble and yet, that is what David does.

As I sit, the Lord seems to remind me that everyone of us is filled with mixed motives. Faithfulness to the Lord drives part of our decision-making and so does our sinfulness. Which part is which in this narrative I am not quite sure. As I look at my life I am not always sure as well. Mixed motives run deep.

All of these thoughts drive me to the cross and thankfulness that the Lord God knows all this and provided a way out from under my own sin and guilt.

Lord, my heart’s sorrow for my sin and the hurt it caused You and others…

My heart is at the same time, forever grateful for the forgiveness that You provide.

Praise and thanks to You Lord God –Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To You and in Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen

Monday, May 12: 1Samuel 20- Friendship.

David and Jonathan enjoyed a tremendous friendship and this chapter brings it to light more than any other that I know.

Friendship is a precious gift. There are some Christian-religious songs that sing about how God or Jesus is all we need. In some ways that is true. But in others, it is not. From the beginning we humans were created to live in relationship. Remember God’s words to Adam, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:18). Marriage is certainly the fullest human expression of relationship/friendship that we were created for but it is not the only one.

Family, extended family, and friendships are also key. David and Jonathan had one of those friendships that ran deep and lasted a lifetime.

At this point I began to think of my friends… thanking the Lord for them. You might do well to do the same.

Friendship is a beautiful thing…

Lord, thank You for the friends I have. Men and women across the decades who have been there with and for me and I for them. I wouldn’t be who I am without them. Thank You, Lord, for making us for relationship.

And thank You, Lord, for relating to us as friend (John 15:15) as well as Savior and Lord. I bless and thank You, Lord, too!!!


Saturday, May 10: 1Samuel 19- Running for his life.

Where does the notion come from that a Christ-follower will have life easy? As I watch the saints of the scriptures I see very few who had a cushy life. Most God-followers, in both the OT and NT, endured times of difficulty. These trials, it seems, helped form their faith.

As I was reading about David’s escape from Saul, I thought, “What a beginning?!” Ever since he was anointed by Samuel, David’s life has been a whirlwind. And for much of the time, despite his military successes or maybe because of them, Saul has been looking to kill him.

The road of faith, more often than not, is a difficult road. Jesus refers to it as a narrow way (Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.)

David ran to Samuel. It is comforting to have trusted advisors and friends as we walk the road of faith, people we can turn to when faith’s road is hard and long.

Who do you turn to when life hits a difficult patch?

Who are your trusted friends and/or advisors?

Thank the Lord for them... they offer a firm foothold during slippery times!

Lord, I thank You for those people I can turn to when I need a hand, a steady voice, a shot of courage and perseverance. Throughout my faith journey, You have always had people there for me. I praise and thank You for that, Lord.

Your way can be tough, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am Yours… Lead me as You wish. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Friday, May 9: 1Samuel 18- God is absolutely sovereign .

The story of Saul and David continues in this chapter. Clearly the two men are on a collision course.

As I read, verse 10 caught my eye and troubled me. I thought surely, Lord, I should meditate on another verse, but I kept being drawn back to verse 10. The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand

Did I read it correctly, “an evil spirit from the Lord came forcefully on Saul”? The word ‘from’ troubled me. Did God send the evil spirit? Does evil spirit mean the things I think it means?

As I pondered I did some research. The word used for ‘evil’ means opposite of good and ultimately means the opposite of God. And every translation I consulted translated it ‘from God’ communicating that God sent the evil spirit.  

My ponderings swirled. God had lifted His Spirit from Saul; God’s protection and presence were therefore gone. God was orchestrating the changing of kingship from Saul to David. And apparently as God orchestrates this change God has the ability to use evil spirits for His purpose. I am not sure what to make of this.

It brings me back to one of my core Biblically formed beliefs; God is absolutely sovereign! Absolutely. He can move pagan kings to do His bidding (Cyrus is an example of this). And when God so deems it appropriate, He can move even a spirit opposed to Him to do His bidding.

Like I said, I don’t fully grasp this, but then why should I, a mere mortal grasp all the ways of the living and true God. Nor should I exert too much pondering power of how God does this, since the Lord in His wisdom did not care to share the ‘how’ but only the ‘what’ in His revealed Word.

So today I sit in awe of God, working out His plan, will and way! I have been called to serve the Almighty God… wow, how dare I refuse??? How dare I give less than my very best??

Lord God, Almighty, I am in awe of You. You move and orchestrate things to serve Your will and plan. You truly are ALL-MIGHTY.

I surrender to Your will and way. I surrender to You. You are Lord and my Lord, I will follow as You lead and do as You bid me to do. I pledge my life to You. Through Jesus, my Savior and Lord, I pray. Amen.


Thursday, May 8: 1Samuel 17- God is sovereign.

I found myself fascinated by Saul’s willingness to let David face Goliath. After the briefest of conversations Saul says, “Go, and the LORD be with you” (37)

For 40 days, Saul and the army have been paralyzed by Goliath. Now here comes this youngster who says, I’ll fight Goliath, and Saul agrees!?!

I just can’t wrap my head around this. Was Saul so desperate that he would accept anyone? Did he have a good feeling about this young kid? What was it???

Then I thought, when God wants to accomplish something, He works in the minds and hearts of people to accomplish what He desires.

God is sovereign and His will will be accomplished!

I remembered this amazing story in which I see another example of God’s sovereignty…


Do you believe in MIRACLES!!!

This story appeared in the magazine PRAY! (March/April 2006, p. 24)

NavPress. All rights reserved.


Some people call it the Mountain of Faith. Others refer to it as Garbage Hill. Officially, it is known as Muqattam Mountain, a rise on the outskirts of Cairo in the part of town where the poorest of the poor live.

These people—most of them Christians— are called "zebaleen," or rubbish collectors and recyclers. They supplement their incomes by making use of or selling whatever they can salvage from the dump that is located in their part of town. Many of them worship in the largest church facility in Egypt—and in all of the Middle East. Their meeting place is an open-air cave on Muqattam Mountain. It is known as the Cave Church, a Coptic facility where 18,000 believers gathered for the 2005 Global Day of Prayer (GDOP).

Even more unusual than the prayer site—and more amazing than the large number of believers gathering in a Muslim nation—is the fact that believers from Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches came together to pray and lift up the name of Jesus. GDOP leaders had to make plans in faith, not sure that the Coptic church would be willing to host a multi-denominational prayer event at their most notable place of worship. Nothing like this has ever happened in the Egyptian church. The Coptics have stood alone by choice for 2,000 years (it is the oldest church in Christendom) and have survived every obstacle during their long history. For many years, theirs was the only church safeguarding the gospel against the press of both persecution and culture. Nevertheless, church authorities readily gave permission to GDOP organizers to meet in their facility.

The next hurdle was figure out how to manage 18,000 people coming in and out of a hamlet on a garbage hill with dirt streets—a logistical nightmare. With little faith, GDOP leaders asked God if it would be possible to have the streets paved and cleaned.

God did much more than what they asked or hoped for. In fact, He blew their minds. A week before the GDOP, a rumor circulated that the son of Egyptian President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak was coming for a cultural visit to the Cave Church that Friday. The news reached Muqattam Mountain authorities, who literally overnight cleaned and paved the streets, removed obstacles, and hung banners along the route which said "Mubarak," which means "blessed." All this was paid for by the government!

The president's son never came. But Muqattam Mountain was ready to welcome a more important visitor: the King of kings and Lord of lords. The road for His coming to Egypt was paved through prayers and unity.

On Pentecost Sunday, denominational walls broke down as intercessors from at least 17 denominations worshiped and prayed together. People reported that they were gripped by the presence of God as they put aside their differences and lifted up Jesus. The united prayer meeting was broadcast live on television from Cape Town to Cairo, and millions of viewers from Africa, Europe, and elsewhere were blessed by what happened at Muqattam Mountain.

While Cairo prayed in the Cave Church, seven prayer teams went out to the other 27 provinces in Egypt, many of which had no church, to make sure that all of Egypt was represented before the Lord that day.

God planted a seed of prayer and worship for the Lamb of God on that historic day. It was, as Isaiah foretold, a day in which an altar to the Lord was established in the heart of Egypt.

—By Nancy Mina, marketplace and logistical leader of Cairo's GDOP event


For the remainder of my time with the Lord I meditated upon God’s sovereignty. His wonder and power…

Lord, You are the Great God. You moved a king to allow a shepherd to battle one-on-one with a military legend and the young shepherd won. You paved a way for 18,000 to get to a prayer meeting in Egypt. Praise be to You, my Lord and my God. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, May 7: 1Samuel 16- Waiting.

Rebellion is no small matter. Yesterday we read about Saul’s disobedience, which was tantamount to rebellion against the Lord (recall 15:22-23). Today we read that God had moved on, Saul was rejected and another person was chosen to be king, David, son of Jesse. God had a people to protect and a plan to bring to pass.

What struck me was the amount of time that would have to pass before David could realize God’s call. We live in such an instant society. My initial thought was that if David was anointed why doesn’t he just become king? But things don’t always work that way. Often things take time. Plant a seed and then you have to nurture it before it grows. If it is a crop, it may take a couple of months. If it is a fruit tree it can take a couple of years for it to mature to bear fruit. Some trees take 10’s of years to mature.

David was anointed, but his kingly reign was still years away. Waiting can be hard. But waiting is a fact of life and David, I imagine, had much personal growth and maturing that needed to happen before he was ready to serve God’s people as king…

I wondered what maturing I still needed in order to accomplish God’s Will in the next decades of my life…

Lord, as I look forward to the decades to come, I wonder how You will use me to advance Your kingdom. I wonder, too, how the ways You are growing me will be used in the years to come. Jesus, I offer You all my years, I pray that I can be kingdom useful all the days of my natural life… I pray this in Your name. Amen.


Tuesday, May 6: 1Samuel 15- Disobedience.

Someone said, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Power certainly corrupted Saul.

Saul changes God’s straightforward instruction to suit himself and/or because he feared his men, depending on one’s inference from the text. Either way Saul dishonored the Lord by not following God’s instructions as given.

This was Saul’s third strike. His true nature was now revealed. With his disloyalty confirmed God ripped His blessing and eventually the kingdom from Saul this day (22ff).

How important is obedience? Listen to Samuel’s words (22-23):

“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much

as in obeying the LORD?

To obey is better than sacrifice,

and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

For rebellion is like the sin of divination,

and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. …”

As I typed these words my thoughts flew to all the things I know from Scripture and how at times I disregard them, choosing instead to do what I want.

Maybe not to the degree of Saul, but nonetheless I teeter on the edge of rebellion when I do what I know God would not want for me to do or I do not do what God would have me do!

The wonder of grace and mercy and forgiveness, thanks to Jesus, now floods my thoughts even as failures filled my thoughts moments ago!

I pray as the church has prayed for centuries…

Most Merciful God, I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word and deed, by what I have done and by what I have left undone. I have not loved You with my whole heart and mind and strength. I have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. I am truly sorry and humbly repent. For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and forgive my sins; that I might delight in Your will and walk in Your ways to the glory of Your Holy Name. Amen


Monday, May 5: 1Samuel 14- When does a vow to the Lord not count?. Never!

This chapter is riddled with foolishness and unfaithfulness on Saul’s part. Samuel’s condemnation of Saul and his reign is coming true (recall 1Sam 13:14).

The day begins with Jonathan taking a risk. God is at work and Hebrew victory begins to unfold. Unbeknownst to Jonathan, his father has made a foolish vow disallowing his men to eat until victory is secured (24)! This foolish vow leads to a number of troubles.

First and foremost, when Jonathan rejoins the troops in pursuit of the Philistines, he eats some honey breaking his father’s oath.

Next after victory is secured, the men jump on the plunder, eating without properly preparing the meat (eating meat with blood in it). Saul does the right thing by stopping this action, but his foolishness was the reason the men were so famished.

The big trouble arises when God’s anger flares at the breaking of the vow. The lot falls to Jonathan as the sinner. According to Saul’s oath, Jonathan should die but the men prevail upon Saul and he lets Jonathan live.

On the one hand this is good since Jonathan is portrayed as an innocent victim of circumstances he didn’t know. On the other hand Saul shows he is not a man of his word before his men and more importantly before the Lord.

A Jephthah Saul is NOT (recall Judges 10:6ff).

Foolishness and foolish vows get us into all kinds of trouble. This is one thing I am seeing in today’s reading.

I don’t want to give the impression I condone ritual killing but neither is it right to make vows to the Lord and then disregard them when they are no longer convenient or the price of fulfilling them is too high! Vows to the Lord are a sacred oath.

On so many levels today chapter is troubling. I sit in anguish at the unfolding of this account…

The whisper of God does not relive my anguish, it simply reminds me that vows made to the Lord are sacred and not to be enjoined impulsively. Is it any wonder that Proverbs has many warnings about impulsive words?

Lord, may my words be wise and my heart pure today as I live for You. Amen


Saturday, May 3: 1Samuel 13- The price of disobedience.

Impatience is the enemy of most of us, certainly it is of me. And when I get impatient, I make poor choices. Such is the case for Saul. Men were deserting; his first command leadership was evaporating before his eyes… so Saul acted.

Unfortunately, he acted from a place of self-interest rather than faith. He offered sacrifices, a forbidden practice, rather than waiting for Samuel the priest. And Saul paid a heavy price for his impatient action. Verse 13: “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.

When stressed, when a decision is needed, Saul acted from human wisdom rather than seeking the Lord. This screams at me! When impatience rises, when decisions are needed, stop and ask the Lord for help before plodding on…

Lord, I can be so guilty of pushing on… help me to pause, to stop, to pray, to seek You. Slow me down that I might listen to You. This I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.


**A note… I am fascinated at how I heard The Word. I am stressed today about a project I am involved in and clearly my internal stress affected how God used The Word to speak with me this morning. I love the living nature of God’s Word!

Thank You, Lord, for the peace which comes from your ‘not-so-subtle’ reminder to pause, breath and ask You for help in the midst of my stress today. Thank You, Lord, God-Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thank You. Amen.



Friday, May 2: 1Samuel 12- Samuel a life well lived.

When I come to the end of my ministry and kingdom-service life, I hope and pray that I have lived with the integrity of Samuel! What a man of integrity, service and love for the Lord! What an example for any of us who seek to follow Jesus…

Lord, thank You for Samuel and his witness of integrity and faithfulness ALL the years of his life. May I, Lord, be so faithful and true to You.

In his farewell words, Samuel has to bring a pretty heavy word to Israel. They have sinned and their sin will cost them.

Sin always costs us. Sin seems good at the time, but in the end it costs us dearly. Israel would learn that lesson again the hard way.

Lord, remind me of Samuel’s words and the truth of Your word, the next time I am tempted and begin to be lured by sin. Remind me, Lord, that sin always costs… big time. It disrupts my relationship with You and it brings with it consequences. Lord, teach me to obey the leading and promptings of Your Spirit, I pray…

My heart was drawn to Samuel’s final words. But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish” (24-25).

This word was a warning to Israel and it warns me as well… the first words hit me square in the ‘face.’ But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart…

Fear… fear the Lord. God is to be feared. With a simple word God does whatever He wills. He brought the thunder and rain on Israel as a lesson. I am not even a grain of sand compared with the Lord. Yes, He is to be feared. When love, delight or duty are not enough to cause me to stay far from sin, then may fear of God rise up in me… such that I avoid all semblance of evil and sin!

Lord, I pray for a heart and mind that fears You, a mind that understands that You are supreme and at Your simplest word, what You will, happens. Period. End of story! I pray for a heart and mind that believes and lives in light of this truth!

Serve… serve Him faithfully with all my heart. Fear might keep me from doing wrong, but there is more to living with and for God than avoiding wrong. There is doing right. This is where the call to serve comes into play. And Samuel bids Israel, and by extension me, to serve the Lord with all my heart. Not serve minimally or serve some, but to serve with everything I have!!!

Lord, I pray for a heart and spirit that serves You and even more, longs to serve You with everything I have…

Lord, when I get lazy and self-centered, remind me of my prayer today. Remind me of Samuel’s words. Remind me of Your word which, over and over again, calls me (us) to undivided devotion to You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Thursday, May 1: 1Samuel 11- It is not how you begin.

This chapter tells the story of Saul’s first kingly exploit and it is a smashing success. He calls all Israel to come and save Jabesh who is being threatened by the Amorites. They win a decisive victory and in the end all Israel gather to affirm Saul as king. A great day! A great beginning!!!

Sadly, I know the Saul’s kingship doesn’t continue to ride the wave of success, but that is for another chapter.

What hit me, as I read this account, is that it is not how you begin, but how you continue and end that matters! This speaks to me about my faith, about my relationships and about my work…

Lord, as I ponder this thought, I ask You to help me to be a finisher… a person who continues and finishes well the things I start! Oh, God, help me… help me to do more than start well, but to finish well in all areas of my life. Lord, I pray this in Jesus’  name. Amen.