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Showing posts from April, 2018

"Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul"

BIBLE READING: Psalms 102-104 “Bless the LORD, oh my soul, oh my soul.Worship His holy name. Sing like never before, oh my soul.I’ll worship your holy name”.Those words are the opening line of the song “10,000 Reasons”.The point of the hymn is to remind us of all the reasons we must be compelled to worship God.Although I am not sure what necessarily inspired the author in his efforts to write the song, I do believe that the reading for today might have had something to do with it. Within these three psalms, the phrase “Bless the LORD…” ,is recorded eight times.The word “bless” that is used is a word that implies the action of kneeling.Kneeling is not something we see done very much today in our Western Culture, but it is something that we do see.It is seen in men as they get down on one knee to propose to their sweetheart.It is also seen at sporting events when a player is injured. We also might see it as done on television as one might kneel in the presence of the Queen of England.It …

Sunday

Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 7-10

"Are you ready for old age?"

BIBLE READING: Psalms 81, 88, 92-93 What are your feelings about old age? Everyone reading this either knows someone old (senior citizen) or is one. The Psalms speak in several places about the kind of life the aged live. Psalms 92:14 tells us that some will still be bearing fruit. Psalms also tells us some may feel weak and useless as they age. What is the difference? Verses 12 and 13 tell us one reason may be, if you have served the Lord and are continuing to sow seed, you have a purpose. As we age having a purpose becomes even more important.If you have stopped working in God’s kingdom, then it may be harder to feel a purpose. There is a difference in stopping and slowing down. The bible tells us Gods word is the seed. The bible doesn’t tell us, how to sow, when to sow or how much to sow. If you do anything to help God’s kingdom, you have a purpose. This psalm challenges us to consider if we are preparing for old age by serving God today. What seeds are you sowing? What harvest are …

"It's Up to You"

BIBLE READING: 1 Chronicles 6 From time to time, in Exodus, the Levites had the responsibility of being in charge of the elements of Israel’s religious life. At first they were primarily responsible for the tabernacle, the mobile worship center. Later, they took on additional responsibilities for teaching among the tribes in certain designated Levitical cities. Once the ark of covenant was relocated to Jerusalem, after David was in power as king, the Levities duties changed some more (1 Chronicles 23:25-32). Today we worship the same God they did then. Our methods of worship change from time to time, as we have opportunities to enhance our worship. Over the years we have enhanced our worship through improved lighting, sound system, and visual systems. These changes were done to help us better worship God and therefore be more pleasing to Him. Some things that will never change in our worship are the acts of worship (prayer, song, scripture, communion and giving), when we worship, why w…

"Past Mistakes"

BIBLE READING: Psalms 73, 77-78 These three Psalms were probably written by Asaph, a chief musician and composer appointed by King David (1 Chronicles 15:17, 19). In Psalms 78 we see this could be considered a lesson on learning from mistakes made in the past. Throughout the Bible we are reminded of how the children of Israel failed to learn from generations of mistakes.Verse 37 tells us their hearts were not always tender and they were not faithful to God’s covenant. How similar are we to the children of Israel? Past mistakes will always continue if we do not learn from them. If we don’t learn from our past, then our future will be a reflection of our past, but our heart will be more calloused to our mistakes.Do we selectively choose what lessons to be learned from our past mistakes? Maybe even which past mistakes we choose to learn from? We must learn from our mistakes, not try to justify or rationalize them. Don’t look to place the blame on others. Unless we take ownership of our mi…

"Destinations in Life"

BIBLE READING: 1 Chronicles 3-5 Jabez has 2 verses, out of 31,103 verses in the Bible, devoted to him. In chapter 4:9-10 we are introduced to Jabez as being more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez because he caused her pain during his birth (Jabez means pain or misery). He lived with that as a constant reminder and that name may have had an unwanted affect in his life as he grew up. He didn’t let this effect on his life be his destination. Jabez turned pain into prayer. He asked God for His blessing and to increase his responsibilities; also, that God would be with him and keep him from evil so that he would not have pain.The Prayer of Jabez reveals that Jabez understands what many people do not -- there is only one God and He should be the center of our work. God wants to bless every life. But, we must first make the choice to invite God into our life and ask for His blessings. Sometimes we have things that are in our life we have trouble dealing with. It may not …

"Priorities"

BIBLE READING: Psalms 43-45, 49, 84-85, 87 In Psalms 49 we are reminded that the wealth we gain during our short time in this world stays here when we die. We may receive praise from men and even be thought of highly by many because of the wealth we have attained, but all this leaves us when we die. Ecclesiastes 5:55 tells us that we came into this world naked and that is how we will leave; nothing from the material wealth of our labor will be in our hands when we leave. The only part of our time on this earth that is valuable to us when death comes, is the time we spent doing God’s will. Living our lives in a way to please God is what it is all about. Psalms 49 is a great reminder that death levels the playing field; every person whether rich or poor must die. At that time, the only thing we have is our soul. We are either ready or not ready for the judgment; no time left to prepare.This fact should affect not only how we live, but help us put the correct priority on all decisions we m…

"DNA or choices?"

BIBLE READING: 1 Chronicles 1-2 Most of us enjoy reflecting on our previous generations through old photos, through conversations with parents, grandparents and even events recorded by family in Bibles and other records we hold on to. Although most can’t verify much about their genealogy further back than 4 or 5 generations, we are very interested in our generations preceding us, as were the children of Israel. Family records were there for the Israelites to help remind them of the stories of God’s work and purpose from generation to generation. As such, the genealogies have much to teach us today about how we look at our heritage. They remind us also to look back with gratitude and look ahead with faith. Just as the children of Israel could look back and see God’s faithfulness in fulfilling His word to them among their decedents, we can also today count on God to honor what He has told us. As future generations of your family look back, what will be the message they get from the choic…

Sunday

Bible Reading: Psalms 6, 8-10, 14, 16, 19, 21

"More on work and family"

BIBLE READING: 2 Samuel 1-4 Many find out the hard way that success in careers doesn’t necessarily translate to success in personal and family life. David’s life gives us an illustration of that. While his position and stature as the future king grew stronger and stronger, his family life was headed for a lot of trouble. Evidence of that is seen by David having six sons born in Hebron by six different wives, which may be an indication David was strengthening his political ties through marriage, not uncommon for ancient kings. But, we see that in David’s case it wasn’t good. Not only did David’s polygamy violate the law (Deuteronomy. 17:17), but it lead to a lot of problems as he tried to blend his various families together, as we will see with David’s children,Amnom , Tamar and Absalom further into 2 Samuel. Also, David’s example to Solomon concerning marriage wasn’t good as he ended up with700 wives who turned Solomon’s heart away from God. The choices we make to further our careers c…

"Gaps"

BIBLE READING: Psalms 121, 123-125, 128-130 In Psalms 128 we see two things God has always called on us to live with in harmony. Do you ever experience tension between your work and your family life? Most people do. Yet ironically work and family are part of Gods plan for us. It is often the two things that we have both the deepest meaning and fulfillment and the deepest pain and frustration. Most people long for happiness. This Psalm tells us that the way to have it is to fear the Lord and walk with Him (vs.1). There is peace and security in our lives when we put God first. Matthew 6:33 tells us to put God first in our lives and He will take care of us. As you think about the ties between your family and work, how much do the members of your family know about your work? How much do you know about theirs? Is there any way that the gap between work and family life can be improved? Prayer Requests:_______________________________________________________________

"God's Way is Best"

BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 28-31, Psalms 18 David had been severely persecuted by King Saul, who was eaten up with fear that David was out to capture his throne. David had come to the conclusion within his heart that he must go into hiding.He was in a terrible position. David knew he could eliminate his problem. After all, twice he had an easy opportunity to kill Saul but didn’t. David knew that Saul, even in his maddening jealous state, had been appointed by God and it wasn’t his place to remove him. David was very patient in dealing with his problem. He knew God would answer his prayers and resolve this problem in His way. So, when God resolved David’s fear for his life from Saul’s mad campaign by allowing Saul to fall on his own sword, David knew God had handled it His way. David had no illusion that he had somehow handled his problem. Only God had preserved his life. When you have difficult times in your life, what is your response? Do you turn to God for help? David knew he could res…

"Am I?"

BIBLE READING: Psalms 17, 35, 54, 63 David is continuously hounded by vicious opponents who really had no grounds for pursuing him. David always had to watch his back. David always puts his faith in the belief that God will take care of him (Psalms 35:9 ….. I will be happy when He saves me.) David talked to God for reassurance, comfort, praise and love. David pleads for Gods justice to save him from his enemies. David knew he was being attacked by enemies even though he had done no wrong.Convinced of his own integrity, David asked God for protection when he is surrounded by his arrogant enemies. Have you ever known someone who had a reputation for integrity, only to find out it was all a put on? Behind the scenes they were willing to compromise. As they say reputation is what you do when everyone is watching; character is what you do when no one is watching. David knew his character was good and God was constantly testing his heart. David was passing the test. We should ask ourselves “A…

"Earn Respect"

BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 25-27 Probably one of the things people want more than anything else from those in authority is to be listened to and respected. Abigail got both from David. He listened to her and respected her. She pointed out to him that he could win that battle with her husband, Nabal, and lose the war because of the loss of many innocent lives in doing so. David thanked her and gave God the credit for sending her. God later took care of Nabal. The exchange between David and Abigail has important lessons for us today. If we want others to pay attention to us, we need to act and speak in a way that deserves respect. Also, as others approach us, we need to listen to what they have to say and be willing to heed their advice and act on it when it is wise. Prayer Requests:_______________________________________________________________

"Tongue Depressors"

BIBLE READING: Psalms 56, 120,140-142 Slander in Webster’s dictionary is- the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another's reputation. One common issue in the three different texts for today is the damage, the hurt, the wickedness that comes from an evil tongue. Most of us have been on the receiving end of some type of slanderous remark and know the feeling and threats in makes on you. Are you also on the giving end of that? Many of us work in environments where it seems the coffee pot area loosens tongues. Proverbs 20:19 says to not associate with gossip. Isn’t listening to gossip spreading it also? Social media has made it easy to reach numerous people with a single post. This can be very good but in can be disastrous. The results of gossip and unkind words can ruin a person. The slander from friends or enemies can cause stress, emotional and spiritual weakness. James tells us in chapter 3 that the tongue is a fire, a restless evil and full o…

Sunday

Bible Reading: Psalm 7, 27, 31, 34, 52

"Things are going downhill...FAST"

BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 21-24 It can be clearly seen, for the daily reading, that Saul now has a huge problem with David.He has already attempted to kill him…twice; now he has begun his quest to hunt him down.David has fled on the advice of his friend Jonathan and is headed out of the city.He stops by Nob and that is where we meet the priest Ahimelech.While there, David deceives the priest by implying that he is on a mission for the King.He and his men are hungry and are in urgent need of food, so he petitioned the priest for food.With no common bread on hand, the priest gives David the consecrated bread for food.While there, he also gives David the only weapon that is on hand, the sword from Goliath the giant that David killed.Unbeknownst to David, an Edomite by the name of Doeg was there witnessing the whole thing.Doeg reports back to Saul all that had happened at Nob, causing Saul to summon Ahimelech the priest.In I Samuel 22.6, Saul does the unthinkable and orders the death of Ahim…

"The Sins of Saul Continue"

BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 18-20, Psalm 11, 59
Now don’t get me wrong, I am sure that Saul had a list of accomplishments a mile long that were good and a blessing to the Lord.  Sadly though, as we continue our study, we seem to only focus on his shortcomings.  Even after the situation with Agag, the King of Amalek, Saul remained King of Israel even though the LORD had already selected David to be his replacement.  Saul knew his reign would end badly, yet he did not know that God had already ordained David.  Shortly after the selection of David, we see his Giant accomplishment of faith (pun intended) in his defeat of Goliath.  Of course, Saul celebrated David’s victory as well because it bought him more time as the King.  However, as time progressed, that would change.  David’s popularity had grown so much that it had surpassed that of the king.  Then the comparisons began; Saul had slain his thousands, and David his ten thousand (I Samuel 18.6).  This made Saul grow jealous and very angry…

"Humility Over Pride"

BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 15-17 As they say, one poor decision often leads to another and such is the case with King Saul.After taking matters into his own hands with the burnt offerings, he now continues his mindset of usurping God’s process and justifying his sin.However, this time it is on a much larger scale.God had instructed Samuel to tell Saul to utterly wipe out the Amalekites because of their mistreatment of the Israelites on their way out of Egypt.Saul, however, had other plans in mind.He thought he could save some of the flocks for future sacrifices and spare the King Agag by keeping him hostage.Saul later reveals that this was the idea of the people and that they had swayed him to keep the choice flocks, when Saul had let the power of being King go to his head.Now, not only would his kingdom not endure, it would be divided and God was going to give the throne to someone else.This was such a big disappointment in the eyes of God that I Samuel 15.35 tells us that “the LORD regr…

"Justifying Our Actions"

BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 13-14 Here is the situation; the Philistines are preparing to come down and face the Israelites in battle. Due to some previous raids that were successful by Jonathan, the Philistines were getting prepared to take their revenge on Saul and the Israelites.This sent the Israelites into a frenzy. Although some were ready for battle with Saul, many of the Israelites became afraid and hid themselves in caves and dens fearing the worst.Saul had been commanded by Samuel to wait seven days before they sought to overtake the Philistines so that he could offer burnt offerings to the Lord and seek out His blessing.As the seven days ended, still no Samuel.The Scripture doesn’t really give us any indication of why Samuel does not show in the allotted time, nevertheless Saul became concerned.The people were beginning to grow afraid and were scattering from him.In an effort to take matters into his own hands, Saul does the offerings himself. Now that presents a problem, becaus…

"Holding Your Peace"

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BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 9-12                 Someone told me years ago that you can’t please everyone and if you do, then you must be doing something wrong.  The older I get the more I understand their point.  It doesn’t matter how much you try to be the best person you can be, there will always be those that want to criticize, ridicule or demean who you are or what you do.  What makes it difficult is that those are usually the only comments you might hear. These criticisms come in many forms; whether it’s you’re not good enough, you’re not enough, or you’re just not that important; they all hurt!  So how do we learn to handle them?  How do we not allow them to corrupt our own self-worth and self-image? Believe it or not, King Saul leaves us with a great example.   As the newly appointed King of Israel, Saul had his share of critics.  In fact, the Bible refers to them in the New American Standard Version as “worthless fellows”.  In I Samuel 10: 27, we read that there were those that do…

"Is the Grass Greener?"

BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 4-8                 Have you ever heard the expression “the grass is always greener on the other side”?  This phase came from an old Latin proverb that said, “The corn in another man’s ground seems ever more fertile and plentiful than our own does.” Why is that?  Why do we always look at other people’s situations and think that they have it much better than we do ourselves?  It is all about perception; we perceive that others have it better, when they perceive the same thing about us.  The children of Israel fall into this same trap.  After the period of the judges, they had looked around and noticed that they did not look like the other nations.   The other nations had a king, yet they did not.  It was God’s intention for them to see Him as their King, but they perceived that their neighboring nations had it better than they did.  In I Samuel 8.4-5, the elders of Israel approached Samuel "Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appo…

Sunday

1 Samuel 1-3

Ruth 1-4

BIBLE READING: Ruth 1-4 In Genesis 19:37, we read that the Moabites descended from Moab, the son of Lot, and his oldest daughter. Yes…his oldest daughter. When Lot and his family fled from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah per the instruction of the angels, they fled into the mountains. Lot’s daughters were so afraid that they might be the only people left in the world that they seduced their father with wine and slept with him to get pregnant. Their sons were named Moab and Ammon. History tells us that their descendants become the Moabites and the Ammonites. The Moabites were known as a pagan people who worshipped the idol Chemosh. According to the Old Testament, this became known as the "the abomination of Moab,"and was introduced at Jerusalem by Solomon (1 Kings 11:7), but was abolished by Josiah (2 Kings 23:13). It was not unusual for the people of Moab to offer up human sacrifices to this idol to appease him. The reason why this is so significant in the book of Ruth …

Judges 19-21

BIBLE READING: Judges 19-21 John Maxwell, the author of several successful books on leadership, once said, A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”Successful leadership has its root in being a good example. When there isn’t a leader to serve as that example, chaos ensues. Solomon once wrote, Where there is no guidance, a people falls” (Proverbs 11:14).Sadly, that serves as a good commentary of what happened to the nation of Israel at the end of the book of Judges. Read how the book of Judges concludes: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).When there is no one willing to step up and be a good example—be a leader—people are left in a pit of selfishness. We often agree that our churches, our country, or our world need brave people who are willing to step up and live by godly example. In a world full of selfishness and sin, we need someone who will rise up and lead us to great and wonderful thi…

Judges 16-18

BIBLE READING: Judges 16-18 Judges 16 is perhaps one of the most well known Old Testament narratives. Maybe it is because it has the elements of a modern day blockbuster, or because we learn it (or most of it) at such a young age. Either way, most are familiar with Samson’s downfall and his death. What we are not as familiar with are the two chapters (17-18) that come after the chronicle of Samson. Chapters 17 and 18 recount the story of Micah, the Levite, and the Danites. This might sound like the opening line of a joke, but there are many lessons to gain from the somewhat perplexing account. First, we need to understand that this is not the prophet Micah who comes hundreds of years later to warn Judah of Jerusalem’s impending destruction. This Micah stole silver from his mother. When he returned it to her, she was joyous and took 200 pieces of it to the silversmith to make an idol. Immediately red flags go up (Exodus 20:3-4—No other gods…no graven images…) when we start reading this …

Judges 13-15

BIBLE READING: Judges 13-15 The roller coaster continues with God’s people. We read about how Jephthah, the son of a prostitute, rose up to lead God’s people as a Judge. He was a righteous leader and led the Israelites back to God. Now in Judges 13 we read, “the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.” This is where the lesson of Samson starts. God needed a leader and he had a plan for Samson. God’s plan of raising a leader comes in in verse 3 when the angel appeared to Manoah’s wife. God used His angel, Manoah, and his wife so that they could prepare Samson for what was to come. God doesn’t use angelic messengers to speak to us anymore, but His Spirit is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20). Be sure to listen and be open to how God is preparing you, and those around you, to lead others and follow Him. Prayer Requests:_______________________________________________________________


Judges 10-12

BIBLE READING: Judges 10-12 Tola and Jair. Their names are familiar because they are Judges, but we are only given five verses to describe their actions. These five verses can tell us, perhaps, more than we realized. In chapter 9, we see how the Israelites fall into idolatry under the leadership of Abimelech, the self-appointed king. God exalts those who humble themselves, but brings down the proud. Isaiah 2.12 speaks of a day of reckoning for the proud. Abimelech found that out when a millstone was thrown on his head by a woman in a tower. He was a proud man who led Israel away from God. However, during Tola and Jair’s leadership, there is no mention of idolatry. In fact, verse 6 tells us that God’s people fell back into idolatry. This leads us to believe that Tola and Jair served God during their leadership. It might not have been a long epitaph, but it gave glory to God and they served as they were called. Live your life in a way so that others know you serve God and lead others jus…

Judges 8-9

BIBLE READING: Judges 8-9 “Exhausted, yet pursuing…” These are the words Samuel used to describe the efforts of Gideon and his 300 men in Judges 8:4. In chapter 7, Gideon started with a force of over 30,000. After he gave the men an opportunity to go home, only 10,000 remained. God still thought that was too many. He knew with Gideon’s leadership as a Judge and His power, the Israelites could have victory with much less force and much more God (John 3:30—He must become greater as I become less). After the “dog lappers” went home, Gideon had a force of 300. You’re probably familiar with the rest of the story. After the trumpets, the jars, and the flames, God had His victory when His people followed directions. In the words of Paul Harvey, here’s “the rest of the story.” Following the defeat of the Amalekites and Midianites, Gideon and his men pursued the enemy and drove them from the Promised Land, just as God commanded. God gave them a task. Although they were exhausted, they still pur…

Sunday

Bible Reading: Judges 6-7