Tag Archives: daily walk

May 20; Living In His Embrace

Psalm 50; Song of Solomon 1-3

There is so much imagery here in the love poem Solomon wrote. I hope you’ll read it with your relationship with your Savior in mind. Today, I am filled with praise for the great love God has for me, and for the privilege of being His.

Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love. Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love. His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me. (2:3-6)

That’s where I want to be living. I want to rest in my Savior, to be strengthened and nourished by reading His Word to me, because I love Him so much. I want to be living in His embrace.

He wants that for me, too.

May 19; What if?

I Kings 2:13-3:28; 2 Chronicles 1:1-13; Psalm 72

How would you describe God? What do you believe about Jesus and the cross? In your experience, would you say the Bible is absolutely true, mostly true, a book of suggestions for living, or a book of fiction? The answers to those questions will determine your answer to the following:

If God promised He would give you anything you asked of Him, what would you say?

Solomon heard God say, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Can you even imagine? Solomon replied, “Give me whatever I need to accomplish Your will.”

Solomon understood who God is. He understood that nothing is more important than being a servant God deserves. Solomon not only wanted to do what God asked of him, he wanted to do it well, with his efforts empowered by God.

What if God told you you could have anything you want? Would you ask for health? Happiness? World peace?

Or do you love Him enough, fear Him enough, desire to serve Him enough to make your request about Him? Not my will, but Thine be done.

How would you describe God?

 

May 16; How Far Will It Go?

I Chronicles 6:31-53, 25:1-26:32

I love that the names of the men assigned tasks in the ministry of the temple (not even built yet) are listed here. Most of these men are unknown, regular guys – except for this one thing. Most of these men aren’t listed with kings, or warriors, or prophets. Yet their names are being read today, thousands of years after they’ve gone.

Why?

They served God.

I also love the fact that so many fathers and sons worked side by side in their ministries. I would think nothing could be sweeter for Christian parents than to have their children serving God alongside them. What a blessing that must be!

There is something else that I noticed here in these lists: Accountability.

All these men were assigned duties, and with that we read about the supervision of their fathers, or the commanders, or those who were “in charge.” All the men were given jobs, but none of them did their “own thing.” Even those with authority still answered to the king.

This is a great picture of the inner workings of the Church, isn’t it? Ordinary people working shoulder-to-shoulder in various ministries, some with the responsibility to oversee, to ensure the works gets done to the glory of God, and ultimately, all are accountable to the King of Kings.

You and I might be just regular people, working behind the scenes in ministry of some kind. We might never be lauded or applauded in this lifetime. The men whose names we read today probably weren’t, either. But here we are so many years later, talking about them. I guess we’ll never know how far-reaching our obedience in ministry will go, either.

May 11; Is Quitting An Option?

2 Samuel 16:16-7:23; Psalms 28, 39, 41-43

Remember David, while ignoring Absalom’s sin, welcomed his murderous son back home with open arms? We’re reading today what occurred as a result. Dad’s acceptance, love, positive parenting resulted in the son’s takeover and attempt to kill his father. Absalom moved into the palace, and had sex with David’s concubines in a very public way.

Now David is running for his life. Running from the son he had neglected to discipline. Absalom showed no fear, no respect, only contempt for his indulgent father.

I believe this is something all parents need to hear. Yes, I know not all indulgent parents are disrespected and held in contempt by their children. But as a middle school counselor, I saw way too many that were. I’m praying for parents today.

There is something else in this story that got my attention. A man named Ahithophel was in Absalom’s inner circle. In fact, he was the one who advised Absalom to have sex with David’s concubines as a show of power. Absalom took that advice. Must have made Ahithophel feel pretty powerful himself.

But not for long. He gives Absalom another bit of advice. This time Absalom goes another route, rejecting Ahithophel’s advice. Ahithophel’s reaction to this rejection is drastic. He goes home, writes his will, and kills himself.

Have you ever had an idea, then come to find out you were the only person that thought it was a good idea? Have you ever wanted your family, or your workplace, or your church to do something, only to have them go another direction? Most of us have been disappointed, frustrated, maybe even angry when things don’t go like we think they should, especially when we know ours was the “right” way.

What do you do? Do you quit, pack up your things and hit the road? Or do you put your efforts into the plan and help it succeed, believing the goal is more important than your ego? “It’s the principle of the thing,” often masks an “I’ll show them,” mentality. Because if they crash and burn, someone might recognize how superior your way would have been. People might think yours was the right plan after all. Told you so!

I’ve heard of people walking away from family over how an inheritance was spent, others who bounce from job to job because they can’t work with “idiots” who don’t listen to their ideas. I’ve heard of people leaving their churches over silly things like carpet selection. “I want green. They chose blue. See ya.”

God is asking me to look at my commitment. Is my service to Him based on feelings, motivated by what I gain? If I always make everything about me, I’ll continue to be disappointed, frustrated, and angry.

If serving God is the most important thing, if my focus is truly on Jesus, what does it matter if Johnny spends his inheritance on fancy cars instead of investing it like I told him to? Isn’t Johnny more important than my advice?

Maybe that project at work really needed that other person’s suggestion, and maybe your support of it will be noticed by your bosses much more than if you’d gotten your way. Or not. But if the project is a success, isn’t that good for the company and your job, too? Why would you want it to fail?

If I am serving God out of a grateful heart for what He has done for me, why should the color of the church carpet be a deal breaker? Is the church serving me or God? Besides, if I’m looking down at the carpet, can I be looking toward heaven, too? Where are my priorities?

Ahithophel quit. His pride prevented him from serving after his suggestion was rejected. Seems he over-reacted. But so have I sometimes. Not, of course, to the extent Ahithophel went. But there have been times I’ve let my pride get in the way of my service. God forgive me.

Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus. Let’s understand that our opinions are opinions that others might not share. But let’s not quit just because we get our feelings hurt. Instead, let’s dive in and work shoulder to shoulder with others who share the same goal – serving God.

Is quitting an option? I hope not.

May 5; Answers Worthy of Praise

2 Samuel 23:20b-39, 8:15-18, 7:1-29; I Chronicles 11:22-47, 18:14-17, 17:1-27

Like many of us I think, the first thing I did when I woke up this morning was to reach for my phone. I did a quick scroll through FB, checked the weather, and opened my email. I was pleasantly surprised to see a notice that a blogger I follow, posted something today. She has not done that for a while, so I took time to read what she wrote. It’s a thoughtful, honest look at prayer, especially those prayers that are answered with a “No.” If you get a chance, check it out at karinasussanto.wordpress.com. It’s entitled, “When The Answer Is “No.”

Anyway, I was already thinking about prayer when I read today’s Scripture and was once again challenged by David’s. The king wanted to build a home for the Ark of God. David wanted to give God a dwelling place He deserved. But when God clearly said, “No,” David prayed, “Ok. Thank you for blessing me in other ways.”

We Christians pray. God wants us to bring our requests to Him. Our prayers are a sweet perfume to Him. However, prayer is not something we do to get what we want. Prayer is something we do to get what God wants for us.

As a parent, did you always give your children everything they asked for? If you say you did, shame on you! Sometimes a parent just knows giving in to every whim is not what’s best for a child. Like a four year old wanting a 22 shotgun. A parent probably knows that isn’t the best gift for the child. A child who loves alligators, and wants a pet alligator, should probably hear Mommy and Daddy say, “No.” Even if a tantrum follows.

It’s hard to accept when we lay out our requests and hear God say, “No.” I can’t think David liked hearing that he would not build that temple. It had been his heart’s desire. But David thanked God anyway.

And so should we. God really does know what’s best. And He really wants to give us His best. We just need to trust Him, and praise Him when He blesses us in other ways.

And He always blesses us in other ways.

I am reminded that God doesn’t deny our requests because He doesn’t want us to be happy. If He denies our requests, it’s because He has something better in mind for us, something more wonderful than we can know at the time. We can thank Him for the “No” because we can trust Him.

So pray. Ask God for you heart’s desire. He might give it to you, or He might say, “No.  But know this: His answer will always be worthy of your praise.

 

May 3; It’s Your Turn

Psalms 21, 51, 103; 2 Samuel 12:24-31, 8:2-8, 23:20a; I Chronicles 11:22a, 18:2-8

David’s guilt over his sin with Bathsheba, and the death of his son, seems to have paralyzed him for a time. Joab led the army into battle against Rabbah the Ammonite, and won a great victory. Then he sent a message to David, telling him in effect to get back to work.

The first thing that strikes me about this is that Joab could have turned this victory around and exalted himself. But he didn’t.

Along with that, I am reminded that fighting God’s enemy is not a one man job, nor is it about gaining notoriety for ourselves. We are an army, each with gifts and responsibilities working together to accomplish God’s goal.

God’s goal.

I love that Joab went about caring out his own responsibilities, and that he confronted David for not doing his own. I love this picture that demonstrates that God has given each of us a job to do, one of which is holding each other accountable.

I remember Dad telling stories about being a Marine in WWII. He said it was frustrating when a Marine wasn’t doing his job. That one man, not pulling his weight, made it harder for the others to do their jobs, and often put a whole platoon in danger.

You are that important in our war against Satan.

Let me just say that if you are attending church on Sunday, and that’s all you do the rest of the week, it’s time you start pulling your weight. Your uninvolvement in this battle makes it harder for the rest and, frankly, puts the mission of the Church in jeopardy.

Let’s muster the troops – all of us who know Jesus as our Savior – and win this war. Let’s all of us be obedient to do the things God asks of us. Let’s get off our couches and get out there and talk to people about their Savior, ministering to the needs of people who need Him. Your pastor can’t do it all.

He’s not supposed to.

The reality is that other soldiers in God’s army have planted seeds. God is working in the hearts of sinners even right this minute. A battle or two have been won by others.

Now it’s your turn.

May 1; Regroup

2 Samuel 23:8-12, 21;19-22, 10:1-19, 11:1; I Chronicles 11:10-14, 20:1a, 5-8, 19:1-19; Psalm 33

Here’s what I believe Scripture tells us about our enemy. At those times when we can enjoy a victory in a battle for our souls, Satan doesn’t just give up. Our enemy is never one and done.

Like Israel’s enemies in 2 Samuel 10 and I Chronicles 19. When the Israeli army soundly defeated them, they “regrouped.” (2 Samuel 10:15). Our enemy doesn’t waste time licking his wounds, either. His arrows don’t stay sheathed very long. And, like the passages we read today, we end up fighting one battle after another.

I love that Psalm 33 is included in our reading today. Our hope is in the Lord, the Creator God whose eyes are always on those who fear Him. The truth is, God doesn’t always remove the threat before we go into battle. Sometimes we have to go through that difficulty, struggle with that sin.

Sometimes we win. Sometimes we lose. But, as His children, we know the war itself is already won.

I am challenged today to learn something from the enemy. Instead of giving up when I find myself losing a battle with sin, when I commit a sin I’ve already confessed, when doubts and fears begin to take over, I need to regroup. I need to prepare to fight another day.

I need to get my Bible out, to get on my knees in prayer, to reach out to an ally to pray with me or fight alongside me. My hope is in the Lord, and He never fails.

We wait in hope for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
In Him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in His holy name.
May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord,
even as we put our hope in You.
(Psalm 33:20-22)