New Wine in Old Wine Skins

 

Today’s reading  : Matt 9:17, Mark 2:22, Luke 5:37-38 , Psalm 94

Matthew 9:17

17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

This particular parable has been one that is a constant reminder for me throughout my life.  I have heard this spoken on, debated over, preached on for at least 30 years.  I find myself again with a new take on the parable now.

In the scriptures, John the Baptist’s disciples are questioning Jesus on fasting and Jewish laws. Jesus uses the parable of the wine skins to state that His followers were not trying to get into commune with God and seek unspoken answers. But by being in His presence His disciples were with God, in the form of Christ, and were being filled physically and spiritually.

Jillian and I have recently moved into a new house and this has been such a blessing.  The children are able to have play dates across the street and the people are really warm and welcoming.  A couple of days after moving into the house, we receive a notice that our water main system would be completely remolded and the project would take place between May 1 and August 31, the entire summer.  This was a new issue as a new homeowner that we were not ready, but it is a needed update. The old system seems to have been placed about 70 to 80 years ago and the pipes were 4 inches wide.  The new system is 8 inches wide, which will decrease the current flow by half and increase the efficiency of the system.   The city was looking forward to the future and anticipating the stress of the system with the growth of the community and decided to make the proper plans and mitigate the situation before there are worst complications from the existing pipes.   As with Christ’s disciples, he was making new connections and understandings in the midst of mature and solid doctrine.  Christ didn’t completely destroy the beliefs of the disciples, He upgraded them to hold more capacity and be able to work more efficiently.

With the guidance and direction of the Spirit, I have been mentoring a young man who has had a history of violence and brokenness.  We have on several occasions visited with each other and have created a space of connection and healing.  As we have visited the Spirit has allow each other to come together in peace and understanding.  If we had met several years ago and under different circumstances, we would never have this connection.   As we fellowshipped, the Spirit was physically and spiritually changing both of us, the Spirit was creating New Wine Skins in us. This was truly palpable and awe inspiring.  A young man who has been hardened by life, choices, and circumstances allow the Spirit to transform him into something different and something stronger.  He and I, together have allowed God to transform our Old Wine Skins (the manner in which we perceive people and life) and form New Wine Skins (a renewed life in the Spirit and not allowing others to influence the newness of the change).

New wine skins and Old wine skins are not necessarily talking about people (the Pharisees or John the Baptist’s disciples or others), but the refocus and realignment of our thoughts on how we see and recognize Christ.  If we continue with our old habits and refuse to change, we will not be doing God’s work [Old Wine Skin}.  We would become unfit because we will negate our transformation and testimony.  We have to continuously allow the Spirit to renew our old wine skins to reflect the new and awesome wine that is given to us, [New Wine Skins].  This is essential to increase our efficiency as His Workmanship.  Be Blessed.

False Prophets

Today’s Reading: Matthew 7:15-20 and Psalm 88

Jesus told the crowds, “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheeps clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-20

Jesus speaks to us in rich tangible images today. The one and only perfect author writes to us in words that pierce the veil of truth. The primary message Jesus has for us today is to beware of false prophets. As a new Christian, this is something I’ve certainly wrestled with. When I made a dramatic change in the way I worship God, my friends and family questioned whether the pastor at my church was “the real deal.” I was ill equipped to satisfy their concern about stages, sound, lights and the absence of rituals, ordained priests and incense. Jesus commands us to beware of false prophets but how can we spot that wolf in sheep’s clothing? How do we see the rotten apple within when the skin is shiny and red?

Paul writes about the fruits of the spirit to the Galatians in Chapter 5:22-23. He lists love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control as evidence of God’s work. We can use these very practical guidelines as tools for our discernment. We are called to use discernment when evaluating the prophets we choose to direct our spiritual life. As we draw closer to Jesus in prayer, we realize that he is the ultimate source of truth and meaning. Other leaders may inspire and encourage, but I trust Jesus as the truth. Those prophets that speak truth will produce good fruit. When I challenge myself to respond to Jesus in the same rich images about my spiritual health, what are the illustrations I can use to describe my life with Jesus? Is my church community thriving like a lush green rainforest? Is my pastor a firmly rooted tree, shading his congregation with broad healthy leaves and feeding them with firm ripened fruit? Is my small group leader demonstrating those fruits of the spirit described by Paul? Jesus calls us to take this inventory not only of the prophets in our life but also to examine our own heart. We can often identify a bad spirit taking root in another but are we able to turn that discerning lens inward?  Lord, strengthen us in our desire to grow in discipleship with you. Strengthen our character and bless us with the fruits of the Spirit we so crave. Help us to see your truth so that we may come and live a life with you. Amen

 

 

Why Worry?

 

Today’s Reading Matthew 6:25-34 ; Psalms 82

Upon reading todays passage of the Sermon on the Mount, “Worry”, my mind started to sing different songs about “Worry”.  The first melody that I started to think of was “Don’t you Worry ‘bout A Thing”- Stevie Wonder, due to the countless times that the movie “Sing” has been played in our house for the last several months.  The next song was “Three Little Birds”-Bob Marley and then the iconic “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.  My curiosity kept me searching and I found that hundreds of songs subject is Worry and anxiety. The conclusion is there is so much Worry and Anxiety everywhere in the world.

As I think about the worry and anxiety, I wonder if the where the origin of this visceral emotion started, The Garden of Eden?  Before Original Sin, Adam and Eve did not have to worry about anything: food, clothing, shelter, protection, or the future.  But once they took their focus off of God and began to think about self, then worry and anxiety started to creep in and manifest in their mind.

Jesus purpose for the Sermon of the Mount was to give us guidance and direction in some of the most profound issues that were separating us from God.  His main purpose was to bring the true word of God and create a new relationship between God and us.  In these verses Jesus tells us that we should not allow the anxieties and worries of this life to distract us from the ultimate goal of living for God.  In another example we are shown that even in the midst of Christ we can have worry.

Matthew 14: 28-33

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[d] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

While on the Sea of Galilee, Peter sees Jesus walking on water to the ship.  When Peter knew that it was Christ, he asked to come and he started to walk on the water to Christ.  When the Peter felt the shift in the wind and sea, he started to worry and took his eyes off of Christ and started to sink.

We have the tendency to worry about many things on a daily, sometime hourly basis.  We worry about finances, family and friends, the future.  We worry about jobs, schools, food, shelter, and keeping up with others.   We have to really ask ourselves “why are we worrying?”  Why do we worry when God has the ultimate control?  He has the control over all things, including Satan.  Satan has to ask for permission to expose, inflict, tempt, and create worry.    Worry is the illusion of having power and the fear of losing this power.   God has control and has planned good things for us, why worry?

 

Matthew 19:13-15: 13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.   As I have stated on many occasions, God speaks through me from my experience as a father. The one verse that resonates with me about worry and God’s provision for me is the one mention previously.  We have to have the heart of a child and allow God to be our Father.   With my kids, I can take them to the doctor’s office, the movies, the museum, the dentist’s office, event up rocky hikes and steep cliffs and they will be at ease and calm.  They have experienced that I will protect them and give them good things and love them unconditionally.  If we adults can have this same amount of trust in Our Heavenly Father, we will not have to worry.

God,

Allow us to not lose sight of you when the world gives us obstacles that distract us from you. Please give us the ability to realign and focus on you and rest in your Calm and Comfort. Amen

Temptation

Today’s Reading: Matthew 6:13 and Psalm 76

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Matthew 6:13

 Good morning Monday readers. As the temps finally begin to rise and we are seeing God’s work in the blooming tulips we have the opportunity to dive deep into the next verse of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Today, we’re focusing on temptation. As soon as I hear that word, I start thinking about tasty chocolates and expensive purses! Our family is moving to a new home this week and I’ve been forced to face the reality of my sin when it comes to materialism. I’ve given away and yet it still seems as if we have so much. It’s taken so much discipline to avoid purchasing more things! How many of us are filled with wordly desire when we walk into the store? This may lead us to ask, why did God bring temptation to our lives? The Bible teaches that God doesn’t lead us to temptations but he does allow us to be tested by them. Of course, we’re not alone in it. All Christians struggle with temptation. The enemy often chooses to tempt us when we are vulnerable. When we are under physical or emotional stress he uses that opportunity to convince us that we can get reassurance and comfort from things other than God. When we are lonely, tired or faced with a difficult decision it can be easy to look to food, shopping, the computer or phone for comfort. As we meditate and pray on the role of temptation in our life, I invite you to spend some time writing and reflecting on the three areas in which the enemy tempts us:

  • Physical Needs and Desires
  • Possessions and Power
  • Pride

Take some time to write down the ways in which you are personally tempted in these three areas. Ask God to forgive you for the times you’ve given in to temptation. By making ourselves aware of how subtle temptations start us down the path of sin, we can begin to change.

Make your vows to the Lord your God and perform them;
let all around him bring gifts to him who is to be feared, who cuts off the spirit of princes, who is to be feared by the kings of the earth. Psalm 76:11-12

 

No Words

Todays Reading: Matthew 6:7 ; Psalm 70  

Matthew 6: 7

 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.

How many words are enough? How loud or soft, should I pray? Will He hear me?  God has not heard me, should I pray more or increase in my frequency or intensity?   I have struggled with and grown in my prayer life over these last 36 years.  I still find myself wrestling with these thoughts and others as I pray.  Through this journey, I have learned  it is not about the perfect words or phrases, but it is about the relationship.

 

Prayer can be broken down into three areas: presence, relationship, and alignment.  Over the years, I have prayed to have a better relationship and prayer life and these are the areas that have helped me to grow.

 

Presence.  We have to allow our mind, body, and spirit to become reserved and in reverence of the awesomeness of God.  We have to place ourselves actually in the presence of God.  We have to literally see Him for all that He is.  In Revelation, John states that when he saw Christ, he fell down and worshipped.

 

Revelation 1: 17-18

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”

 

May we fall down and humble ourselves each time we make a petition to God.  I don’t literally fall completely down in the streets every time I pray, but I submit my heart and soul to Him.

 

Relationship.  The relationship that we have with God is our own personal connection with him.  I have heard many pastors and clergy speak about the relationship with God should be “this” or “that”, but the relationship is up to the individual and is always a working progress.  The relationship dictates the interaction that you have with God. I have many relationships with friends and family and there are times that you can talk for hours and other times you can be silent for long periods of time.  The relationship with God can be similar, there can be times that you are in awe of all that He has given you and cannot stop thanking him with your words.  In other times, there can be times where you are so overwhelmed by His presence that you are at a lost for words.  The great thing about God is He loves the time you.  No matter if you have many words or no words.

 

Alignment.  The proper placement of our lives, attitudes, and emotions allows us to hear and interact with God better.  For example, I have a wonderful seven-year-old on who is always running around and finding things to make, play or do.  If I am inside the house and he is outside the house, when I call him, he might be able to respond. But if I am in the same area, either the house or outside and I call him, he will respond quickly.  This is the same with our Heavenly Father, if we are in the same mindset or atmosphere; we are better aligned to respond to His calling and His voice.  If we are not aligned then the slight whispers of protection and prosperity might be obscured, but He is a loving Father and will continually pursue us.

 

While being in the presence of God, and creating a relationship with God, and aligning ourselves with God we will be able to connect with him throughout the day and in the midst of daily living.  As Matthew states, we do not have give many words to God as prayers, but be earnest and sincere and connect with the Father and He already knows your desires and petitions of your heart.

 

Dear God,

Allow us to speak and hear your will. Amen

The Truth

Today’s Reading: Matthew 5:33-37, Psalm 64

Good Morning! I’m so happy to be with you again Monday morning readers. This week, we continue our study of the Sermon on the Mount. Today’s reading focuses on oaths. When I think of the word “oath” I think of serious situations like testifying in court or taking an oath of office. In our society we view an oath as a promise to tell the truth, a promise to do no harm or a promise to do our best to protect people. When Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount sometime around 60 AD, an oath not only implied keeping one’s promise but also had significant spiritual implications. Jesus is emphasizing the importance of telling the truth. Keeping our word or oath is one of the few forms of earthly currency we have. It builds trust and makes committed human relationships possible. Jesus’ teaching on oaths has three distinct facets:

  • You must keep your promises to God. Back in 60 AD, Jews avoided using God’s personal name when taking an oath. Instead they would use a reverent sounding substitution in order to appear sincere. How often do we as Christians make a promises in the name of God whether in church, at small group or in our community. The Bible condemns making vows or taking oaths casually when you know you aren’t fully committed to keeping your word.
  • Jesus tells us not to take oaths at all. This seems counterintuitive, but Jesus’ message is that our word should be enough. He encourages us to act with integrity in all areas of our life. When we do so, we can be our authentic selves and therefore do not have to make promises in order to redeem trust. If we tell the truth all the time, we will have less pressure to back up our words with an oath or promise.
  • Do not swear by your head. What Jesus means is that we do not have the authority to create or destroy things over which God has authority. Swearing against God aligns us with the enemy. Just as he attempted to assume God’s position, so do we when we attempt to sit on a false throne.

Oaths are needed today because we live in a sinful society. Trust is a powerful element of our ability to interact as sinners. Psalm 64 says:

Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,  from the throng of evildoers, who whet their tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows,shooting from ambush at the blameless, shooting at him suddenly and without fear. They hold fast to their evil purpose;  they talk of laying snares secretly thinking, “Who can see them?” They search out injustice, saying, “We have accomplished a diligent search.” For the inward mind and heart of a man are deep. (Psalm 64:2-6)

 Jesus calls us to be genuine in our pursuit of honesty and personal integrity. He asks us to keep our promises to God and ask for forgiveness when we fail. The grace in this lesson is that God always keeps his promises to us, no matter how many times we fall.

Peace and blessings this week

To Be Blessed

 

Today’s Reading : Psalm 58; Matthew 5:3-12

In today’s reading we are at the top of the mountain in close quarters with Jesus.  We have a private audience with Jesus and the disciples before the Sermon on the Mount.   As the crowds are gathering, Jesus pulls all of his close associates into a small huddle and preps them on the future possibilities of their ministry and life.  He tells them how blessed their life will be following Him, but it is not the typical blessing that they would expect.  I have read the Beatitudes many times in my life, but I have found a new understanding of them as I studied and write this blog.  Below is the The Message form of the Beatitudes:

Matthew 5:3-12

 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Last night, as I was putting my son to sleep I read these to him and he said “Dad, that really makes sense. I can see how God blesses people in all of those situations”.  It really makes sense and my seven-year-old son gets it.  We have the fortune to see this and live this post sermon, but could you image the impact that these words had on the people of Jesus’ time? These were people who had been treated without regard of their religion, citizenship, physical capacities, and so much more.  In that society, the more powerful you appear to have the more force you have, but Christ is showing the complete opposite side of this argument.  The more that you relinquish the power or pursuit of said power and submit to Christ the more you are given and more peace you are granted.   In our society we can see remnants of this ideology of more force and more power makes the better person or entity.  This is contrary to Jesus’ teachings.  The more that we can allow God to give use Shalom (completeness), the more we are in His power and his peace.

Be Blessed

 

Restoration Monday

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Readings: 2 Samuel 20 and Psalm 52

res·to·ra·tion

ˌrestəˈrāSH(ə)n/

noun

noun: restoration

 

  • the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition.
  • the process of repairing or renovating a building, work of art, vehicle, etc., so as to restore it to its original condition.
  • the reinstatement of a previous practice, right, custom, or situation.
  • a model or drawing representing the supposed original form of an extinct animal, ruined building, etc
  • the return of a hereditary monarch to a throne, a head of state to government, or a regime to power.

I wanted to start with this word today to give us some inspiration for the new year. It’s my third year as your Sunday night blogger and therefore my third Easter post! I like to think of the Monday after Easter as the beginning of a new year. The spiritual energy of the Easter season is far more captivating for me than the celebration of Christmas. We’ve just finished celebrating Christ’s resurrection and perhaps more importantly, we’ve mourned his death. I had the opportunity to be on the stage side of Eastview’s Night of Worship on Good Friday. As we lifted our hands and voices in worship, we witnessed hundreds of people literally cry out to God. We heard the sound of the nails being driven through Jesus’ hands and feet. We wept for his pain and suffering on our behalf. That sound of a hammer pounding a nail was so real, so palpable it stuck with me. Tonight, as I read through 2 Samuel 20 and prepared to write to you, that sound came right back to me. As we hear about the Sheba rebels trying to overthrow David we’re suddenly exposed to some really graphic details. First there’s the little encounter with Joab and Amasa:

“When they were at the great stone that is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was wearing a soldier’s garment, and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened on his thigh, and as he went forward it fell out. And Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you, my brother?” And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10 But Amasa did not observe the sword that was in Joab’s hand. So Joab struck him with it in the stomach and spilled his entrails to the ground without striking a second blow, and he died.” 2 Samuel 20:8-10

 I know right. Entrails. Not exactly the lily white Easter message you were expecting today. None of this seems very Godly and honestly it’s tough to read. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t get any better! Just a few paragraphs later, Joab is pursuing Sheba in order to restore justice and peace among the tribes of Isreal. A wise woman stops him from destroying the city by promising she will have Sheba killed and his head tossed over the city wall.

And the woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.” 22 Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they dispersed from the city, every man to his home. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.” 2 Samuel 20:21-22

 When I first began studying this scripture I really worked at spinning it into a beautiful celebratory Easter message. But the word of God can’t be spun. It isn’t meant to be spun. Joab’s story is messy. His murderous act went unpunished and he went on to be the king of Jerusalem. The world we live in today is the same. There are acts of violence in our city and there are leaders that rise to power despite a sinful past. But there is also grace. 2 Samuel 20 is really about the restoring the stability of the 12 tribes of Israel. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we too have the opportunity for restoration. We can begin our new year by identifying the structural cracks in our spiritual life that need repair. There might be a need for demolition and rebuilding but through Jesus we have the tools we need. Sometimes the details of our human lives are graphic, our truth isn’t always Easter white. By returning to prayer and restoring our relationship with Jesus we can be made whole.

Happy Easter New Year!

 

 

 

Be Still

Todays Readings: 2 Samuel 14; Psalm 46

This is the beginning of Holy Week. We begin the preparations of Easter and Resurrection Sunday this week. We are taking time to reflect more on the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. I am excited to be able to witness this time of reflection and renewal with you. Psalm 46 expresses the heart of the week and this season of Lent and Easter.

Psalm 46:

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present[b] help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. 

 This is one of my many favorite passages throughout the bible. I love reading and mediating on these words. The power that is contained in these lines is substantial and appropriate for all weeks, especially this Holy Week.   The images that I have for this day are:

  • Christ coming into the city before Passover (Luke 19:38-44) (verse 1&2)
  • The crowds of people praising him. (Verse 8)
  • Christ knowing that the Father has ordained the way. (Verse 10)

The King Who Wins

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 8 and Psalm 40

Hello Monday! Are you looking for signs of spring? Each morning I look for fresh green buds in our front yard or any other sign of new life. This time of year leading up to Easter is always sort of dreary. Christ’s death is eminent and there is a heaviness that comes with recounting the days before his burial and resurrection. Of course our reading today pre-dates the birth and death of Christ by about one thousand years. David’s rise to power began around the year 1003 BC. Today we hear about the fulfillment of God’s promise to defeat all of the enemies of the Israelites. David defeats the Philistines, the Moabites, the Edomites and entire armies of 22,000 men. He takes their chariot horses, weapons and money and then makes them his servants. So basically everything is going right for ol’ David. All the Israelites loved him:

“All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them.” 2 Samuel 3:36

Kind of a hard thing to hear on a Monday morning right? I have to be honest, when I first read this chapter I thought, “must be nice to conquer and plunder every enemy you face!” We all have that person (or two) in our life that seem to win every battle no matter how big or small. They effortlessly rise to power in their workplace and are successful in their personal life. All the people take note and are pleased! And you are left feeling a little jelly and maybe even a smidge resentful. Now, if I’m just talking about myself here, I hope you’ll take my confession and pray for me to mature in my faith! If on the other hand, you’ve ever struggled with the patience required to God to fulfill a promise then stay with me! Verse 15 says this:

 “David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.” 2 Samuel 8:15

 This is an important clue about the character of King David. Yes, he pleased his people but not because he tried to satisfy them. Instead, he showed them in all of his actions that he was trying to please God. Often, those that try their hardest to become popular never make it. Spending our time and money on devising ways to gain acceptance with our peers is fruitless. God wants us to spend our time striving to do what is right and just. King David’s reign was characterized by doing what was just for his people. Justice means interpreting the law and administering consequences with mercy and respect. David became a trusted leader among his followers because they respected his convictions. After some dedicated study of today’s word I came around to truly appreciating King David for his integrity and commitment to fulfilling his covenant promise with God. Through more reflection and prayer I understood that justice is not always the same as fairness. God doesn’t deal in fairness. Some will have riches, some will be poor. Some will have love and companionship, others will be alone. God fulfills His promises and reveals them in His time. We are not kings and queens and we won’t win every battle. We can trust God to give us the authority we need, in his time, to do the work that he wants us to do.

I encourage you to read Psalm 40 today in its entirety. It’s a perfect companion to His message in 2 Samuel 8. It begins like this:

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand…” Psalm 40