Monday, June 30: 2Peter 2- Study to know God's Word, it is our best defense.

This chapter opens with the sternest of warnings. But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves (1).

False teachers… this is a sad yet truth filled reality in our world today as it was back in Peter’s day. The only remedy I can prescribe is to stay close to God’s Word.

Too many people what to reinvent The Word, saying this passage or that passage are no longer relevant today. This is a frightening road to start down. Once we begin determining what parts of the Bible are true and what is not, we teeter on the edge of danger, in fact we may have fallen over into the pit.

The whole of the Bible is God’s Word; understanding it is key!

If you can stand a plug, I think the best book out there for the general public to learn solid biblical interpretation is Gordon D Fee and Douglas Stuart’s, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. And updated edition is due to be released right around now. It has 13 chapters and is perfect for an adult Sunday School class or study group. If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor and read it. For those who are part of my church, we will begin a Wednesday evening study of this book on September 10th. It will be a tremendous class. Faithful orthodox Bible understanding is within your grasp.

And faithful orthodox Bible understanding is our best defense against the false teachers who are everywhere around us these days.

Lord, thank You for Your Word. It is truth. It is life. It is YOUR Word to us. I pray for myself and others that we would study it well, so that our faith is grounded and strong, so that we are not vulnerable to all the false teachers living, preaching and available today. Through Jesus, who is The Way, The Truth and The Life, I pray. Amen



Saturday, June 28: 2Peter 1- Faith takes work.

Peter puts it so plainly. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (10-11).

It was the three words make every effort that caught my attention.

I see it in others and hear it spoken about cavalierly and fall in to sometimes.  The ‘it’ I’m thinking about is laziness in faith, taking God’s grace for granted and not putting effort into learning, growing and doing what ‘faith in Jesus’ calls me to learn, grow and do. Peter, too, sees this and so he writes, make every effort to confirm your calling and election.

The therefore that begins verse 10 points back to what he had just written in verses 5-9. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Add, grow in, develop… goodness, knowledge, godliness, mutual affection and love. That is quite a list. And what I notice is that these are qualities of living that other people will see in our lives.

Where does the Lord take me with all of this? To think, meditate and dwell on these things. In other words, the Lord is saying to me, “Here you go, Bill. I have given you your focus for spiritual growth for the days to come…”

Lord, keep my in Your word, because in them I have the words of life. Bless You, Lord, for the gift of Your Word because with them You have given me life and shown me a glimpse of You and Your character.

I love You, Father, Son and Spirit. I worship and adore You. Through Jesus, my Lord, I pray. Amen.


Friday, June 27: 1Peter 5- A word to church leaders.

Probably because I am a pastor, I found myself attracted to Peter’s opening words. Verse 1-4: To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

How are we pastors, elders, church leaders to fulfill our calling in Christ? Peter spells a few things out quite clearly.

Be a shepherd willingly and humbly. As I thought about a shepherd, I noted that a shepherd of Peter’s day lived with his/her flock, spending countless hours out in the field, leading, guiding, and protecting the flock. You cannot shepherd disconnected from the flock. Peter notes that this shepherding requires a willingness that comes from inside the individual. It cannot be forced upon a person.

Being God’s shepherd is not about the money… fair pay is one thing. But using the office to fleece people of money is wrong. Ancient shepherds lived a meager life. Peter certainly didn’t do it for the money!

Shepherding is not about power; getting to tell people what to do… instead Peter mentions that shepherds are to be examples. Do what I do, not what I say! And this is to be done eagerly!!!

The role of pastor, reverend, elder, father, deacon, bishop, or whatever this person may be called in your church, is a high calling. The demands are great.

If you are a pastor, reverend, etc. think long and hard about how well you are executing your calling.

If you are not pastor, reverend, etc., here is Peter’s measuring stick for those who are your pastor, reverend, etc.

Lord, Peter author’s a grand job description, one of which I am not worthy. Help me, Lord, to fulfill Your calling with patience and energy, that I might please You, Lord Jesus, in every way. Amen.


Thursday, June 26: 1Peter 4- Words on suffering.

The first thought to strike me is how much Peter refers to suffering. On the one hand suffering is foreign to me. My world is largely devoid of suffering. And we do everything possible to reduce suffering of any kind. Dentists have Novocain. Medicine has pain-management. Workman’s tools have rubber handles. Not only do we work to minimize suffering of any kind.,We offer all manner of luxuries, cars with heated seats is one example.

Suffering in general is foreign to me and suffering for my faith is not my lot. The idea of a fiery ordeal (12) is something difficult for me to relate to.

And yet it seems almost common place for Peter to write about this. It is as if it is to be expected. I am not sure how to best meditate on this…

My thoughts go to the ‘persecuted church,’ places in our world for whom this word would resonate… places in Africa, Asia and the Middle East that I have read about. A friend who served in Asia couldn’t tell his location. I have another acquaintance whose son and family serve in the Middle East. Likewise, the son will not even tell his parents his actual location. All I can do is be inspired by these people who willingly serve the Lord in this way. Maybe I should sit with them to understand this passage!

I return to the chapter, 8-10 provides some instructions for living. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Love others. Offer hospitality cheerfully. Use your gifts to serve others. These are words to believers who are suffering. How much more should I –who live in comfort- heed and live out these clear instructions?

Lord, I need strength to put my faith into action. Here are 3 straightforward ways to put my faith into action… Help me, Lord. Help me to give my faith, my all, for You and Your glory, I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, June 25: 1Peter 3- Be. do.

Oh, where should I ponder and meditate? So many riches, so many options.

Verses 8-9 win the battle for my meditations. It was the practical nature of the “bes” and “dos.” Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Be like-minded, of one mind: brothers and sisters in Christ should be marching toward the same goal, seeking to be like Christ and serving His kingdom.

Be sympathetic… love one another… be compassionate: Christ-followers are to be the kind of people who care for others. We are to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. We enter others’ lives to be with them in life.

Be humble: thoughts of and for others ring as loudly or louder than thoughts for self.

Do not repay evil for evil… rather DO repay evil with blessing: bless others, bless and do not curse. Jesus said it like this, ‘turn the other cheek’ (Matthew 5:39, Luke 6:29).

Lord, how I act matters to You and to kingdom work. Strengthen me with Your spirit so that I can be and do all You want me to be and do. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, June 24: 1Peter 2- that we may declare.

Verse 9:  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Those 4 words, that you may declare, leapt off the page at me. We are chosen, we are priests, we are God’s holy nation and special possession so WE MAY DECLARE (!)… declare God’s goodness and greatness to a world in desperate need of Him!

As those 4 words pierced into me, so did this thought… “How well am I declaring God to the world?”

How are you?

Think about it…

Lord, use my lips and my life to declare Your praise. Lord, use my actions and my words to declare You to the world. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Monday, June 23: 1Peter 1- So much to be grateful for.

My soul drunk in the God’s message. The God of Glory is with us and for us!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls (3-9).

Our new birth in Jesus gives us hope… hope in the resurrection!

Our new birth gives us an eternal inheritance that never rots or fades.

The blessings of our new birth are kept in heaven, therefore are kept by God!

In our new birth we are shielded by God’s power… God protects us so that we will make it. Trials will come, but they only prove the genuineness of our faith. These trials refine our faith, annealing us to be stronger and more pure of faith and heart!

There are the messages I hear from Peter today. And as he says, the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Alleluia! We make it! God sees to it! Alleluia!

So much, Lord, to be grateful for. So much, Lord, to praise You for! So much, Lord. Bless and praise You. Bless and praise and exalt You, Lord! Amen!



Saturday, June 21: 2Samuel 24- Troubling and encouraging wrapped together.

In terms of troubling verses in the Bible for me, 2Samuel 24:1 ranks up there among the top. Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah."

I simply do not know what to do with this verse. It stares at me and glares at me. The Lord’s anger burned against Israel, and he incited David… This census David commands is full of sin. His advisors counsel against it, yet David goes through with it and the end result is that God judges David’s sin and 70,000 die from a plague as a result.

Was God the instigator of that sin, which is contrary to the plain teaching of James 1:13-14: When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.? As we read this account David takes full ownership of his sin. He never attempts to pawn it off on God or the devil or anyone else.

I am left with a conundrum, but one that leads me to a second thought. I may not be able to put this all together in a neat package (especially when the Chronicler who records this same incident tells it this way… (1Chronicles 21:1: Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel). But all indications point to the sovereignty of God. God’s will and way will not be thwarted.

God is in control… God is sovereign!

And so I sit this morning, recognizing I do not understand everything. God’s ways are higher than my ways (Isaiah 55). And God will bring to pass His salvation. On these I rest my head and my life.

Lord, I trust You. I don’t understand why bad things happen.I don’t understand how everything works in life, in faith, in salvation, But I TRUST You. Your word is true, Your will perfect. May I praise You with every breath I take. Through Jesus, my Lord, I pray. Amen.



Friday, June 20: 2Samuel 23- A case for leadership.

The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: 'When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth' (3-4).

How true this is. When a leader is righteous, when he or she carries with them a healthy ‘fear of the Lord’, then the workers, country, organization is blessed.

The imagery of light and brightness remind me that under this kind of leadership there is honesty and transparency. Hidden motives, private agendas and the kinds of things that happen in the shadows do not live with a leader of integrity. She or he creates a place where people want to live, work, and be –depending upon what they are leading.

Leaders with righteousness and the fear of God don’t create Camelot. We are all flawed and broken in some places. Mistakes are made. Projections don’t pan out. And unexpected market forces still exist, but righteous leaders with integrity build well and what they lead stand the tests.

Lord, I pray for men and women who lead… business, education, church and religious institutions, government, media, finance, companies (small and large), PTA’s, scout troops, sports teams, etc. I pray for women and men who are righteous. I pray for men and women who have a healthy ‘fear of You.’ I pray, Lord, is that they, that we, may lead well.

Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.



Thursday, June 19: 2Samuel 22- A depth of prayer.

What a refreshing chapter in the midst of sad and troubled history. David sat and David prayed. How many leaders do that? How many people do that?

ü      There were so many places to pause and ponder as I read this prayer.

ü      The love and trust David expresses in the Lord….

ü      God’s sovereignty in action…

ü      God’s saving and vindication of David against his foes…

ü      David’s recognition that God saved him…

Oh, so many places to pause and ponder.

Even as my heart was refreshed during my stroll through this psalm, this prayer, I kept returning to the thought, David took the time to pray and even more than that, he took time to compose and record this prayer.

Do I pray with this dedication? Do I pray with this fervor? Do I pray with this intentionality? Do I? Do I?

Do I thank and bless the Lord when He rescues me?

Do I cry out to the Lord with honesty and self-less abandon when I am in need?

Do I even recognize that I need help beyond myself?

David threw himself on the Lord… do I? Will I?

Will you?...

Lord, I close my eyes and bow my head in honor and humbleness before You. You are sovereign! You alone reign over the heavens and the earth and everything under the earth.

I praise You. I need You. I cannot live this life with integrity, with courage, with energy and power for You without Your help. Send Your Holy Spirit that I might live as You would have me live…

That I might do the things You have for me to do so that Your kingdom advances…

That I might say words You need said…

All for Your glory and honor, I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, June 18: 2Samuel 21- Take time to examine your life.

Justice during the days of David is hard to swallow at times, and the opening account of this chapter is one of those times for me.

Yet in the midst of the account there was a devotional moment for me. It came right at the beginning with verse 1. During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the LORD.

There is a verse from Ecclesiastes that has always provided wisdom for living for me. It goes like this: When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other (Ecclesiastes 7:14). It seems to me that David provides a living example of that word in action.

Times were bad for Israel, so David sought the Lord.

This struck me as a wise way to live. Considering life and how my faith living is going during hard times seems prudent. I cannot say that I always hear directly from the Lord what is going on nor is there always a direct correlation between life-going-well and my faithfulness, but self-examination regularly is wise.

In fact, when times are good, it is wonderful to be happy and to enjoy.  Yet even at these times, I find self-examination prudent, lest it stray from the Lord because I become over self-confident.

So, Lord, this morning, I thank You for David and his wisdom to seek You when things were not going well. It is a prompter to me to keep my connection with You tight, to check in and to seek You regularly.

Thank You, Lord, for always being available to me, to us, to Your people everywhere. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, June 17: 2Samuel 20- today is a quandary.

I found myself pondering David and Joab. It seems David tried on a few occasions to replace him, but Joab always found a way to eliminate his competition. And by eliminate, I mean kill. Joab was a man of blood.

I wondered how David, a man after God’s own heart, put up with a man of blood like Joab. Joab was very good at his job, commander of the army, and at times he did give David tremendous advice, but his character seems focused on personal gain.

I am not sure what to do with this thought.

I certainly prefer working with people of integrity who listen to and follow the Lord.

Lord, help me to discern people of integrity and to surround myself with them as I work to execute Your plans, will and way. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen. 



Monday, June 16: 2Samuel 19- A man of integrity.


With the civil war over, David returns victoriously to Jerusalem. Even in his return I see integrity and faithfulness of heart to his God.

David understood that his return was a day of joy and thanks. God had vindicated him. When opportunities arose where David could have inflicted punishment on people who had cursed and dissed him as he was running for his life, David chose to extend grace.

This spoke volumes to me and it seems to have spoken volumes to his nation as well. All the men, I am thinking particularly of the foot-soldiers, who sided with Absalom must have had fear and trepidation as David retuned to his throne. What would he do to the soldiers who in effect committed treason?

The way David treated Shimei shouted, “Today is a day of grace. The nation together is much stronger than the nation torn apart.”

Grace, whether in victory or defeat, can be a difficult gift to extend. David did it well on this day he returned to Jerusalem.

Do I so willingly extend grace to those who have done me wrong? Do you? What would Jesus teach and expect of us who follow Him? My thoughts flip to the Sermon on the Mount… if you are brave take a few moments to ponder Matthew 5:38-42.

Lord, help me to have the heart of Jesus. A heart that loves, a heart that understands when it is time to be silent in the face of false accusers and when it is time to over turn the tables of injustice.

Lord, help me to have the heart of David who understood how to win graciously!!!!

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for teaching and saving me. I love You. In Your name, I pray. Amen.


Saturday, June 14: 2Samuel 18-Loyalty.

I was incredibly impressed with the loyalty of David’s men expressed in verse 3: But the men said, “You must not go out; if we are forced to flee, they won’t care about us. Even if half of us die, they won’t care; but you are worth ten thousand of us. It would be better now for you to give us support from the city.” These men were willing to die to protect David. And this was not because it was their ‘job.’ No, they, willingly, were ready to sacrifice everything for David.

What loyalty and devotion…

My initial thoughts wondered about what in David engendered such deep loyalty. David must have been a tremendous leader to have so many men willing to die for him.

After a bit my thoughts traveled to thoughts of God. Would I willingly express such loyalty to the Lord? Would I die to protect God’s name and honor? I’d like to think so, but I have never been put to the test… so I am left to ponder and to affirm and express my love for the Lord.

Oh, Lord, I pledge and affirm my allegiance to You. I don’t want my words to sound hyper spiritual in any way, Lord. I am Yours. Use me how You will to advance Your kingdom… I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Friday, June 13: 2Samuel 17- Living faithfully.

Today’s account hinges on verse 14, For the LORD had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom.

Even in the chaos of the recent days, God is in control. Even with Absalom having the upper hand, God is in control. And the Lord is working out His will and way.

There is no way David knew God would work things out in his favor at this time. He was running for his life, uncertain if he would live or die; uncertain if the events represented God’s judgment or if God would save him.

Rarely in life do we understand God’s bigger picture and all that God is doing in, through, and around us. Our lot is to live faithfully, trusting God, with the outcome of our endeavors and life.

Today I leave for Nigeria. I know God has called me to this work, I have prepared to the best of my ability. Now I need to step out and live faithfully as the trip unfolds and God’s plan plays out.

Trusting the Lord, living faithfully and then giving the Lord the honor and praise due to Him, this is life in a nutshell.

Happy living…

Thank You, Lord, for those times You give me a glimpse of what You are doing. Thank You, Lord, for the days Your Spirit guides me to life rightly even when I do not know what You are up to. Thank You, Lord, for allowing me to live and serve You all days. To You be honor and glory, forever and ever. Amen.


Thursday, June 12: 2Samuel 16- Steeped or surface.

Yesterday and today, we are watching as David flees a dangerous threat, which happens to be a coup by his son. As I imagine the situation, my heart floods with emotion. Anger, deep anger at my son for his conniving. Depression and sadness, what is happening to my family. How could my son do this? Fear, this is a real problem and my life is in danger. Others came to mind.

As I was pondering this and ‘entering’ the situation I realized that in the midst of this crisis and storm of emotions, David needed to make decisions upon which his life depended.

People don’t always make solid decisions at intense times like this.

I pondered the decision regarding Shimei, who is cursing David as he passes by. Advisors want to kill him (the sons of Zeruiah do tend to be hotheads). David stops them (check out verses 5-14). I wondered how is it that David could be so wise and level-headed at a time like this, especially when he is hurting.

Then it occurred to me, David wrote many of the Psalms. His life is steeped in love for the Lord and time spent with Him. And it is times like these when our steeping in the Lord rises up within us, keeping us on track with God and His ways. When we have hidden God and God’s Word in our heart, it can and will guide us even when we are not emotionally functioning at full tilt.

God’s whisper to me… “Stay in the Word. Day in and day out feed your soul with My Word, so that in times of stress My word will be planted in you.”

Such a good thought to keep me close to the Lord today.

Thank You, Lord, for drawing me ever closer to you. I love You, Lord. I Love You. Amen.


PS. I also recognize that God’s hand is still on David. God is directing his paths, even though God may not be visible in the text overtly.



Wednesday, June 11: 2Samuel 15- Trusting in God during dark days.

The great king of Israel, David, fleeing for his life. This is a sad episode in David’s life. One that grows directly out of his affair with Bathsheba and the consequences God sent upon David for that sin.

David’s faith in the Lord stood out as a warm light on a bad day. Verse 25: Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the LORD’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again. David understood that the Lord ruled the day and if God willed him to return to Jerusalem and kingship then he would.

Trusting in God during dark days, this is what David exemplifies in this chapter. Caught by surprise, running for his life, long time friends and family turning against him, and, yet, David trusts in the Lord.

God’s whisper into my soul… “Bill, trust Me. Trust in Me.”

When life is going well, I can be tempted to think, “Ah, it is my hard work, that’s why I am blessed.”

When I am experiencing a hard time, a bad time, I can be tempted to think, “God is mean or God has turned His back on me…”

In both situations, in every life situation, my response needs to be the same, I will trust in the Lord, come what may. My life is in His hands. Obedience, praise, worship and love should be my responses ALWAYS to the Lord…

Thank You for this reminder this morning, Lord. Thank You for David, who trusted You. Thank You for being faithful.

You are my Lord and early will I seek You. Praise be to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.


Tuesday, June 10: 2Samuel 14- What could you do to move toward reconciliation?.

David’s family relationships are tragic. One son kills another.  Oh my! I don’t know if I would handle it any better.

What I see in this chapter is a lot of conniving. Joab and the woman to get to David. Absalom setting fire to get Joab’s attention.

The other situation I see is lots of time going by with no real forgiveness or reconciliation. It seems to me that conniving and manipulation can alter some surface results in a situation, but they do not bring true forgiveness and reconciliation. David and Absalom never reconcile. Years have gone by and they haven’t reconciled. Such is a recipe for disaster.

My meditations slid to Jesus who taught about forgiveness and reconciliation. What a difference it is when people at odds with each other can honestly reconcile.

I know families where there are deep rifts. It is painful for everyone who happens to be part of the relationship circle of those with the broken relationships. Can you talk to both parties? Can you be friends with both parties? How do you act when both parties are present, if that ever happens? Oh, the tangled webs we weave.

One of the very great gifts God gives us is the gift of forgiveness and reconciliation. But they are gifts that don’t come automatically. They take work…

Do you have broken relationships in your life? What could you do to move toward reconciliation?

Think about it…

Lord, thank You for the gift of forgiveness. As I sit this morning I am realizing again what a good and wonderful gift forgiveness is.

Lord, as difficult as forgiveness can be, reconciliation is even harder because I cannot control the other person. So I only control half of the equation where I have broken relationships. Please, Lord, give me the strength to do what I must do to forgive and then to do what I can do to open the doorway to reconciliation. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Monday, June 9: 2Samuel 13- When the Lord is forgotten.


This is a horrible account…lying, rape, hatred, harboring bitterness, plotting evil, with no accountability. From beginning to end, it is a sad tale.

The people of the Bible are all too human!

One thing I noticed…..there is not one mention of God in this chapter.

The thought occurred to me… this is what happens when God is left out of life’s equations. When we neglect to stay connected to the Lord, to seek the Lord, and to measure our lives against the way the Lord would have us live… this is the kind of stuff that happens.

Lord, God, keep me close to You. Please do not let me stray like those in this chapter strayed. This I pray through Jesus, my Lord. Amen.



Saturday, June 7: 2Samuel 12- Consequences.

After David sinned, God sent the prophet to David. In a surprise moment the prophet confronts David with his sin, “You are the man!...” (7). David comes clean, repents and God forgives him. BUT, and this as I see it is an important BUT, consequences of the sin still occur.

This I find is often the case. God forgives our sins, other people sometimes forgive our sins, but the earthly consequences of the sin still exist.

Felons who break the law are punished under the law. Their sins may have been forgiven but they have a debt to society that still must be reckoned. The thief on the cross repented of his sin and was granted paradise by Jesus, but he still died on the cross (Luke 23:43).

This incident reminds me that when I sin there are earthly consequences.  Even though when I confess my sins to the Lord, He absolutely and lovingly forgives my sins and cleanses me from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9).

Think about this as you live your Saturday and as you prepare for worship tomorrow.

Lord, help me be responsible for the things I do that are wrong. Thank You for forgiving me but remind me that where or when possible, I need to own my wrong and face whatever consequences result from it. May I face my consequences with the character of Jesus…

In Your name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Friday, June 6: 2Samuel 11- Nobody is Perfect.

Bathsheba is one of the names many people know from the OT. David had an illicit one-night-stand and she became pregnant. To cover up the affair, David gives orders so that her husband is killed in battle. Ugh!  This is a dark moment in David’s life.

Oh, the ways we try to wriggle out of trouble. Often our wriggling only creates more trouble!

David was a great man but like all of us, he had his flaws and he committed his sins. I don’t write this to excuse David. I note it because I recognize that I, too, have my flaws and I, too, commit my own sins.

Thanks be to Jesus that He has offered God payment for my sins… His death on the cross. This gift of Jesus is not ‘a get out of jail free card’ that I can play whenever I want, meaning I am free to sin whenever I want. Heavens, ‘NO’. But it is a gift that I can lean on when sin gets the upper hand in my life and I do sin!

Thank You, Jesus, for this indescribable gift… Amen.



Thursday, June 5: 2Samuel 10- Imperfect yet loved by God.

This was a difficult chapter for me in which to gain a devotional moment.. No mention of God. A battle over honor. Mistrust through and through. Not the stuff of inspiration.

And, yet, here it is in Scripture, a chapter about one of the most revered figures of the Old Testament, King David.

We are a motely crew, we humans that is. We can be suspicious of honorable things. We can fight at the drop of a hat. Foot soldiers are pawns often killed in battles where they know nothing about the big picture.

And God still loves us. God made and set in motion a plan to save us. And God lives in and through us when we place our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and God.

I sit here today amazed at God’s love for me, imperfect as I am… and God’s love for us humans…..where our imperfections rub each other the wrong way and we seem to create more wrongs when our individual wrongs mix.

Forgive me, Lord. Forgive us, Lord. And thank You for never ceasing to love. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, June 4: 2Samuel 9- Honoring a friend who died.

Friendship is a powerful gift. Friends who are there through thick and thin are a true gift. If we have one or two in our lifetime, we are rich.

David had one in Jonathan, son of Saul. Jonathan died at too young an age.

After establishing his kingship, this chapter chronicles how David honors the life, legacy and friendship of Jonathan. David surely went above and beyond.

Seeking out any living relatives, David restored Jonathans only son to his inheritance. Remember this is the grandson of the former king who tried on multiple occasions to kill David! And even more so, David had Jonathan’s son move to Jerusalem where David could care for him. David treated Mephibosheth as a son.

What honor!

This caused me to think about how I honor friends who have died or who have loved ones die.

I’m generally a ‘phone call or sympathy card’ guy… I wonder if I should do more?

Things to ponder…

Lord, thank You for the men and women who, over the course of my life, have been my friends. They have blessed me, poured into me and those I am thinking about right now have caused me to become a better person. Thank You, Lord, especially for those who are brothers and sisters in the Lord, because their lives have helped me live more faithfully to You.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, June 3: 2Samuel 8- Living with and for the Lord.

The ‘give and take’ between David and the Lord fascinated me. Yes, David was successful. It seems everything that he put his hand to, every battle he faced, turned out well. God was certainly with him and verse 14 confirms this. The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.

But what spoke to me was how careful David was to remember that the Lord was the one giving him victory so he constantly dedicated his victory spoils to the Lord.  King David dedicated these articles to the LORD, as he had done with the silver and gold from all the nations he had subdued… (11).

David truly lived with and for the Lord!

With the Lord… David seems to maintain a constant connection with God.

For the Lord… David’s heart delighted in giving God the glory.

Living with and for the Lord…

Oh, God, may that be a comment that is said when my life draws to a close! With and for You, Jesus. With and for You, Father. With and for You, Spirit… I pray that this is how I live… with and for You. Amen.


Monday, June 2: 2Samuel 7- To go deeper with the Lord.


How much of David’s life was focused on love and care for the Lord!

In the last chapter we saw that David’s desire, once he became king, was to bring the ark of the Lord to Jerusalem. Now today he dreams of building a permanent temple for the ark. And listen to his motivation, "Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent" (2).

David wanted the best for the Lord. David honored the Lord.

David certainly wasn’t perfect, but his love for the Lord was deep and real and this inspires me.

David inspires me to go deeper, and to not hold back in my love and devotion to the Lord.

Thank you, David, for living for God and loving God as you did. Lord, help me to aspire to all the good traits of David,,,,,love, devotion, passion for You.

Lord, that I would be wholly Yours… this is my prayer, through Jesus, I pray. Amen.