"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest upon His shoulders; and His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."
Today we celebrate one of the most pivotal events in history, the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. With no accolades to Santa, no drinking and excessive gift giving as the pagans, but simple worship, and the giving of our all to the Christ. Today, as every day, go to Him, giving Him all honor, glory and praise as we celebrate Him.
2 Samuel 21:1
During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the Lord.
Avenging the Gibeonites in 2nd Samuel 21, God reminded David that Saul broke Israel's promise to the Gibeonites. Some may not have noticed Saul's actions, but Got did. Once David made things right with the Gibeonites, God's blessing returned upon the land. God doesn't take making promises lightly.
Never make a promise you can't keep; always keep a promise that you make. All you need to say is simply "Yes" or "No"; anything beyond this comes from the evil one (Matthew 5:37); Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear - not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple "yes" or "no." Otherwise you will be condemned (James 5:12).
Your servant in Christ, Hank
Happy Birthday Jesus!
We'll celebrate Jesus' birth in three weeks on Sunday, December 25. Christmas is portrayed as a happy, joyous season of peace, but for those experiencing trials or hardships that might cause anxiety, e.g. job loss, family problems, loneliness, or other stressful situations that could case sadness leading to depression. The Christmas season provides an opportunity for us to reach out to those looking for hope. In the true meaning of Christmas, we share with them the light and love of Jesus Christ.
Your servant in Christ, Hank
"Be gracious, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in thee; and in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until destruction passes by."
Hunted relentlessly by Saul, hearing of the deaths of the priests and families of Nob, even seeking shelter from his sworn enemies the Philistines, David continues to seek God's graciousness for his life. Not focused on the rigors he faced, but looking full into the face of his Lord, knowing where his shelter and refuge lay. Davids's confidence and trust may speak to us all this day, though our situations may not be exactly the
same, our hope and trust and shelter are in the Lord.
"When I am afraid, I will put my trust in thee. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have out my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me."
David on the run from Saul, sought refuge in the city of Nob. Sheltered by the priests, he received nourishment and provision as well as spiritual encouragement and comfort. Ultimately, the priests would pay with their lives. (1 Samuel 21-22) We are reminded that our great high priest, Jesus Christ, would lay His life down on our behalf, as the enemies of our souls, sought us out too. David, would put his trust and praise towards the Lord, we ought to do the same.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
"in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday later this week, it's good for us to remember that thanksgiving is not just about one day where we may have a day off and get together with people and have turkey and pumpkin pie. But we see much more in the verse above, which seems to imply an ongoing giving of thanks to the Lord. We all are in varying places in life, yet God has His hand upon us. We've seen David in 1 Samuel, walk the razors edge of faith, life and death, hardship and trouble all while trusting and giving thanks to the Lord. No matter where you are at today, take a moment to thank the Lord for all He has done, all the blessing and provision He has made. Some that, we may take for granted or attribute to hard work and a bit of good luck.
1 Samuel 18:30
"Then the commanders of the Philistines went out to do battle, and it happened as they went out, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul. So his name was highly esteemed."
As the people of Israel loved David, we see so too their enemies had a high regard and respect for David. His conduct on and off the battle field, spoke more so than just military prowess, but a high level of character and Godly qualities that spoke volumes to all who saw him. If we could just have a portion of the same for our lives, we would be way more effective in reaching the world. Lord, pour out into our lives, that we may be more effective for you. Amen
1 Samuel 17:4
"Then a champion came from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span."
The army of Israel stood facing the invading hoard of the Philistines, when a giant by the name of Goliath came forward taunting and striking fear into the hearts of Israel. This nine foot tall behemoth whose massive size and impressive armament and demeanor brought a cloak of fear into the hearts of Saul and his legion. Cowering, they were paralyzed with fear. Today, for us , we too may be in the same state as the giants in our lives take our eyes off of Jesus as we become fixated with that which is in front of us. As the old song goes, turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth grow strangely dim, in the light and glory of His grace.
1 Samuel 16:7
"for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
For most of mankind, we are always first attuned to the outward appearance of others. Oh, he looks cool, or she is well dressed, or they look kind of weird, or oh yeah, they look like they would be a good leader. Much like the people then, we too have the thought of the first impressions, appearances and dress and carriage form our views but really tell us nothing of the real person. Take a lesson from the Lord, try and look pass the first impressions, and seek to look inward and find the heart of man. Soft , tender, loves the Lord, or hard and self-centered, pride filled? Throughout the word, we find all sorts and everything in between. For us, it may be well to look beyond the veneer and look for the good in Christ.
1 Samuel 15:11
"And Samuel was distressed and cried out to the Lord all night."
Saul's incomplete obedience would bring far reaching consequences not only to himself, but for the good of Israel. The Lord had given the people their desires, a king like the rest of the nations. The man Saul was head and shoulders above all the people, anointed and brought before the people as king. Yet he would prove to be half-hearted in God's instructions. As the prophet Samuel grieved, he manifested the heart of the Lord, who had entrusted the well-being of the nation to Saul. Saul becomes an example to us, as we too have been entrusted with the word of God, instructed to follow through with firmness our commitment Him.
1 Samuel 14:6
"Come and let us crossover to the garrison of these uncircumcised: perhaps the Lord will work for us,"
Pressed on all sides by the enemies of God's people, many were paralyzed by a wait and see attitude. Here mentioned in this verse, were the sentiments of two who chose to move forward, probing and seeing what the Lord would do. In faith they refused to see the obvious before them, but were moved by what was not seen, by faith and trust in the Lord. Many, even the staunchest of believers, are stymied by what is going around in the world today, settling and not going forward in faith, trusting that God still is in control. Child of God, pray and go on in in faith in Christ Jesus.
1 Samuel 13:6
"(for the people were hard pressed), then the people hid themselves in caves, thickets, in cliffs, and even in pits."
Here in this verse, you may see the root of the saying, "I'm in the pits!" Moving forward in the things of the Lord wasn't so simple or easy. There were lots of challenges, temptations, fatigue, fear, lack of communication, lousy leadership were just a few to make people throw up their hands and say I didn't sign up for this! We have a distinct advantage today, having the full counsel of God, the bible, yet it doesn't take us step by step addressing every scenario. Too often for our liking is the faith, hope and love part, where we are called to trust Him to get us through, moving forward in the love of Christ.
1 Samuel 12:20b
"You have committed all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart."
Though guilty of sin against the Lord, Samuel counsels the people to recognize their sin, and move forward in the Lord, not turning to either side, but to continue on in Him, in love and service. As it is today, confession and repentance, then moving out in Christ, loving Him and following Him, all good words of wisdom for us to follow.