2 Samuel 7-8, 1 Chronicles 17, Psalm 132, Acts 25

Have you ever been wrongly accussed?  I remember when when I worked at a summer camp during college, another counselor and I were accused of something we did not do. We were not treated fairly and I still can feel the emotions of not being heard and believed. Eventually, our boss admitted that he was wrong, but my human tendency is still to hold a grudge against him for treating me so unfairly. During this time I was so caught up in being right, I constantly  tried to prove myself. I had no confidence that at some point the truth would come out and I would vindicated.

As I read through Acts 25, I was amazed and convicted of how Paul remained faithful and confident in his faith. Even after being held in prison for two years without being brought to trial.

Finally, Paul was brought before Festus and says this…

“If I have broken the law and done something for which I deserve the death penalty, I do not ask to escape it. But if there is no truth in the charges they bring against me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to the Emperor.”
Acts 25:11

From these words we can see that Paul was willing to be held accountable for his actions and was completely confident that the Lord would be his defender. This is a lesson and deep reminder for us. We can have this same confidence as Paul.

Paul had complete confidence that the Lord would deliver him. He did not try and manipulate the situation and was 100% confident that God would be his defender. This is such reminder for us today.

We are to live with the same boldness and confidence that Paul lived with. How do we live our lives knowing that God is faithful to deliver us from every situation? This confidence comes only from walking intimately with Jesus every single day. Through spending time talking to Him, listening to Him, reading His Word, and spending time with other believers.

May we continue to read these accounts in the Bible and let them build our confidence that God is who He says He is and He will Do what He says He will do.

Defining Moments

1 Chronicals 14-16, Acts 24

I remember a book that I was reading, a long time ago.  I do not remember the name of it or the actual content.  What I do remember is being scared.  Really scared.  But not in the way that you might think.  I mean, when you think about being scared, we usually think about something evil.  But this was not the case.  It’s not evil that I was afraid of.  It was holy.

I think that my experience was similar to Felix’s.  You may want to reread it in Acts 24-25.  Let me set the stage.  He was talking to Jesus, and Jesus was telling him of our behavior and God’s judgment that would soon be upon us.  Then, “as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed.”

Stop for a moment and think about Felix’s alarm.  What was he afraid of?  Do you see it?  Felix was not afraid of something evil.  He was afraid of something good.  Jesus was showing him the Holy, and he could not hear it.  What is it about the holy that we do not want to hear?  Simply put, it’s the price.

If you can tolerate the old English, it is worth listening to John Calvin.  He says that we  “do desire to hear the gospel preached.”  But, he continues, as soon as we have heard, we do by and by either loathe, or else they cannot suffer it.” Do you hear it?

There are only two reasons, according to Calvin.  First, we may loathe it.  That means that we disagree with it.  We want to fight it.  That does not describe me.  If you are reading this, it probably does not describe you either.  Instead, I am the one that “cannot suffer it.”  Do you know what that means?  It means that I am not willing to give up myself.  I cannot fathom sacrificing my own agenda for his.  That would mean too much suffering for me!

Is there a limit to your suffering?  A point that you no longer want to follow Jesus because it’s just too hard?  The answer is yes.  It is too hard.   I am thankful for his grace.

For by grace, you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)



Faith Under Duress

Today’s Readings 2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 13, Psalm 60, Acts 23

It’s God’s plan.  God has a purpose for everything.  God’s timing is not our timing.  Just wait, God will show you the way. We do not understand now but God will reveal to us the purpose of His plan when we get to Heaven.

Have you ever been in a tough season of your life, and someone told you these things?

Today’s reading is Acts 23.  During the previous chapters, Paul was on his journey to evangelize Christianity and spread the Gospel to the Gentiles.  In chapter 21, Paul was urged by the disciplines not to travel to Jerusalem.  Paul was convicted and knew he needed to go there.  Paul was arrested in Jerusalem for taking Greeks into to the temple and was attacked by a Jewish mob.  Chapter 23 brings us to Paul’s trial before the Sanhedrin, where he professed his belief in the Risen Christ, and he is not backing down.

In the book of Mark, Mark provided direct insight from Jesus about the persecution and future struggles of those who would spread Christianity.

In Mark 13-9-11, Jesus said the following:

9 “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to the councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues.  You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for the testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”

If you have been through trying times like I have, “God’s timing” doesn’t feel so timely.  The wait, the uncertainty, and the challenges can be daunting.  Perhaps you are going through an illness, marital challenges, family strife, or a job loss.  I think we all can relate to heartache and uncertainty which can push our faith to the ultimate levels of questioning the reason for these trials.  Is God punishing me?  If there is a God, why does he allow me to go through pain and unhappiness?

While Paul was in jail, he learned through his nephew that the Sanhedrin put together a plot to kill him.  Here is Paul, traveling from city to city, spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and fighting for his life.  He sits in jail, trying to navigate getting a message to the commander regarding this plot, hoping to find a way to escape.  Would he be killed?  Would he be saved?  Would he suffer and be beaten?  Even one of God’s most devoted and notable disciples suffered uncertainty and pain not knowing “God’s plan.”

May we turn to the Gospels to read and learn of devoted servants who endured great pain. Job, Moses, David, and Peter all suffered great pain, uncertainty, and challenges for their faith.  May we gain strength and resolve and lean on each other during tough times.

Safety Shoes

Over the last several months I’ve spent much time in and around manufacturing facilities. It has been a great learning experience to witness the production of goods from beginning to end. Most factory workers work very hard, mainly in facilities designed more for “production” rather than people’s comfort.

Given the heavy machinery and high volume of materials movement within a factory it is essential to ensure specific safety protocols are followed. One of the protocols is safety shoes to protect toes and feet. One wrong move from a fork-truck and a person could have a lifetime injury which is devastating to even think about.

Over time I’ve become accustomed to looking at people’s shoes and can easily identify safety shoes vs. regular shoes. This may sound like a strange habit however I started doing this to help influence the protocol so we can protect our team. Now I notice these shoes everywhere. My eyes and brain have been trained.

From shoes to hearts.

I recently attended two training sessions on the topic of servant leadership. In summary, servant leadership is all about leading people based on meeting their needs, not your own. These sessions are for us as leaders to influence the hands, heads, and hearts of our team members, and most importantly those who work on the factory floor as they represent most of our workforce. These team members are our lifeblood and they are in our care. They work in the toughest conditions and come from all walks of life, and they deserve more respect than any team member in the company.

For me now, safety shoes are a symbol of hard work; blood, sweat, and tears from people who in some organizations are potentially mistreated. On the train home from work tonight I saw many men and women wearing safety shoes, all looking tired. They were on their feet all day, likely doing something repetitive, and in today’s global climate, they were potentially concerned about their future.

Each pair of safety shoes represents someone’s son or daughter, maybe someone’s father or mother; and for sure a human soul loved by his or her creator. To lead well, we must lead like the greatest example of all time, Jesus Christ:

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

In our recent scripture readings, we have King David who was a servant leader, focusing more on the higher purpose than his own needs. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers lined up to follow King David primarily because of how he led them. They knew his heart for God, they knew his calling, and they believed God was on his side. Soldiers were willing to leave families behind and risk their lives to fight for the cause.

All these men came in battle array to Hebron with the single purpose of making David the king over all Israel. In fact, everyone in Israel agreed that David should be their king. (1 Chronicles 12:38)

  1. Who are the metaphorical “factory workers” or “soldiers” in your life and how will you serve them today?
  2. David knew his purpose. For what purpose were you called and what steps will you take to live today according to that purpose? Remember God created us to know Him, make Him known, and for us to spend eternity with Him.
  3. Our daily habits are the path to our future. David trained his whole life to become physically strong, to become a better leader, and to build his relationship with God. What are your daily habits bringing you toward and what do you need to change today?

Today’s reading: 2 Sam 3-5; 1 Chr 12; Acts 22; Ps 122

Stay faithful

Today’s reading:  2 Samuel 1-2, 1 Chronicles 11, Psalm 96 and 106, Acts 21

The book of 2 Samuel is the story of King David.  David was born half way between Abraham and Jesus, and is described as “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 12:14).  We can learn a lot from his life.

With God’s help, David accomplished much as he led God’s people to complete their conquest of the Promised Land.  His devotion to God and his record of success made him a leader people wanted to follow.  These things also made David a threat to other leaders, especially Saul (who, by the way, was also his father in law).

Samuel anointed David King when David was 15 years old.  But he didn’t take over the throne until he was 30 because King Saul was still in power.  As we’ve seen in our study of 1 Samuel, those 15 years were some tumultuous times as Saul plotted against David at every turn.  Our reading for today, 1 Samuel 1-2, records the end of Saul’s life and David’s takeover as King of Judah.

Chapter 1 opens with a man, who identified himself as an Amalekite from Saul’s camp, informing David of Saul’s death.  As David probed for more detail, the man indicated that he had killed Saul (at Saul’s request to help him avoid capture by the enemy).  By comparing this man’s story to our text from Tuesday in 1 Samuel 31, we know this man was lying.  Why?  Likely he was trying to gain some personal reward from David for killing David’s nemesis (Saul).

Let’s stop here.  If someone had been plotting against you and trying to kill you for years, and someone else came and took them out, how would you treat the person who had “done you a favor”?  Even if I totally didn’t agree with their action, my natural instinct would have been to thank them or at least acknowledge that they were trying to help me.  But that is not at all what David did.  This man totally misread David’s character.  David knew that God anointed Saul, and only God could remove him from power.  It was God’s job, not David’s job, to judge Saul’s sins.  In the end, this person who was trying to get a reward from David for killing Saul only received justice for taking the life of God’s appointed leader.

As we journey through the book of 2 Samuel, we will see that David’s successful and prosperous reign as King of Israel lasted until he fell into sin.  It is very common for successful leaders to end up down the road of self-centeredness and pride.  Even David, a man after God’s own heart, fell into this trap.

Again, we can learn a lot from David’s life.  My takeaway from today’s text is this.  Everything good and perfect comes from God.  His ways are higher than ours.  Stay faithful.




1 Samuel 30-31, 1 Chronicals 10, Acts 20

The Amalekites just raided David’s camp.  All the women and children were taken, and the city burned to the ground.  The men returned to nothing.  All hope was lost.  Every spec of joy had been removed from them.  Forever.  Naturally, the men blamed David, their leader.  If not for him, we would not be here, they said.  If not for him, we would still have our families.  If not for him, our homes would be secure.  “And David was greatly distressed” (1 Samuel 20:6).

What do you do when you are in distress?  Avoid it?  That’s the easiest thing to do.  TV, a good book, and maybe even a glass of bourbon.  None of these help.  Tomorrow, the problems are still there, and the distress returns.  David takes a different path.  The text reads, “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”  That sounds good, but what does it really mean to be strengthened by God?

First, we need to be comforted.  Comfort comes with the assurance that everything will be alright.  This assurance starts with our remembering who God is.  Love and grace come to mind.  Remembering who he is allows us also to remember what He has done.  David does this all over the Psalms.  He does it often, and specifically.  The bigger perspective he gains from it brings comfort.

God does not, however, give us comfort for comfort’s sake.   No, God’s comfort opens the door to courage and His courage empowers us to consider the unthinkable.  This was true for David.  With a renewed spirit, David fights for God, again and his victory is assured.  So is yours.



Holy Spirit

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 28-29, 1 Chronicles 9, Acts 19

As I read the verses today, there were stories of mediums (1 Samuel 28) and evil spirits that beat up and ran out Jewish priests (Acts 19:14). I searched for connections.  As I continued to read, I came across a question that caused me to pause.  It was a question that caused me to reflect and take inventory.

Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?

This question made me reflect and look at the various commentaries on this question.  Paul found out that there were different stages of spiritual knowledge and understanding.

It made me think of our world. People have different thoughts about our Lord. Some people prefer the Ala-cart Lord, where we can select the part of the Bible we like to hear.  Some people are not familiar with Him at all. Some people have given their whole life to Him and have received the Holy Spirit.  This question makes me think of the Parable of the Sower Matthew 13:1-23. ( “Whoever has ears, let them hear.”)

When Christianity was established, and the new covenant was introduced, there were many Jews who found it very difficult to make all the transitions.  Some may say that transitioning from a life without the Lord to a life with the Lord is too hard.  I agree; it is hard when I try to do things myself.  When I rely on Him and the Holy Spirit — All things are possible.  Have you come into the fullness of experiencing all that God has provided for you? 

Here are a few additional verses that remind us that if you know God through Christ, the Spirit comes as a gift.

Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 

1 Corinthians 6:19  Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 

Ezekial 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 


Lord, our desire is to know the fullness of all that is granted through salvation.  We thank You for your Word and thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to be the strength of our life.

By Nature or By Spirit

Today’s Reading : I Samuel 26-27 ; I Chronicles 8, Acts 18 

Connections. Each of my interactions throughout the day, I attempt to find a connection between everything. In today’s readings, I try to find what is the connection between all of the passages. In the first passage, we have David fleeing again from Saul, the first king of Israel. The next passage, we are given the lineage and the descendants of Benjamin, of which Saul, the first king, is a direct descendant.  In the third passage, we have Paul the apostle, who is in his mission travels.

Upon researching,  I found that both Saul the king of the Israel and Paul the apostle were both from the tribe of Benjamin. Both were men whose internal nature was that of warriors and fighters.  In the blessing of the tribes of Israel, Jacob actually described Benjamin as a wolf. 

 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; all morning he gorges on his kill, at evening divides up what’s left over.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭49‬:‭27‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Both Sauls are actually exhibiting the proclamation that Jacob gave to his son, Benjamin, who would be like the wolves. The nature of this tribe was warriors. The nature of this tribe was being clever and being very protective of your tribe. This protection and nature actually became their downfall for both of them. King Saul was so protective of his “inheritance” that he lost the vision and blessings of God.  Saul the enforcer was so protective of the Jewish faith that he almost annihilated the early Christian church. The nature or human flesh part of us can lead to unforeseen consequences. 

But in juxtaposition to these passages is the use of the Spirit of God. In these passages the Spirit of God is with David in the first passage. The Spirit of God is guiding David not to submit to his nature. If David was allowed to do as his nature intended, he could’ve killed Saul, God’s anointed. But David listens to the Spirit and not to his own nature.Paul the apostle, formerly Saul, listened to the Spirit when he was afraid, and the spirit of God allowed him to be calm in Corinth, and to continue his work in a place that he was not prepared. 

I Samuel 26:9-12

But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can put out his hand against the Lord‘s anointed and be guiltless?” 10 And David said, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will strike him, or his day will come to die, or he will go down into battle and perish. 11 The Lord forbid that I should put out my hand against the Lord‘s anointed. But take now the spear that is at his head and the jar of water, and let us go.” 12 So David took the spear and the jar of water from Saul’s head, and they went away. No man saw it or knew it, nor did any awake, for they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen upon them.

Acts 8: 8-11

Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized. 9 And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” 11 And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

Many times in our life we have both the spirit and our nature that are at constant battles. It’s in our relationship with Christ, that we are able to allow the spirit to be more in us than our nature. It’s not to say that our nature will not come out more often even while we’re in the spirit. But we have to acknowledge both the spirit animal is, and allow God to work in his way. We may not do all the things correctly, but when we submit to the spirit, we can be assured that it’s going to work for God’s favor.

Be blessed 

Seeking Counsel

Today’s reading is 1 Samuel 23-24, 1 Chronicles 6, Psalm 54, and Acts 16. We will mostly focus on 1 Samuel 24 here.

When you are going through challenges and needing help, who do you go to for advice and counsel? Proverbs 12:15 tells us it is biblical to seek the help of others, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Again, in Proverbs 19:20-21 we are told, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” I ask the question again, who do you go to for advice, if anyone at all?

Here in 1 Samuel 24, we read Saul enters a cave to relieve himself where David and his men are hiding. Saul has been speaking terribly of David and trying to kill him for no good reason. Now is David’s chance, he can end this once and for all and kill Saul instead. In fact, David’s men tell him in 1 Samuel 24:4 it is God’s will for him to do so. They go so far as to say God would not have Saul coming into this cave if this were not the case. They say it’s meant to be so to speak. But, David refrains from killing Saul. He gets so close he cuts off a piece of his robe and even feels guilt for that saying that was not God’s will (1 Samuel 24:6).

Once Saul leaves the cave, David yells at him and lets him know he was there hiding. He tells Saul in 1 Samuel 24:12-13 and 1 Samuel 24:15 that the Lord will be the judge between them, not David himself. He says out of wicked only comes wicked.

I find this so fascinating for 2 reasons. First, David had the chance most all of us want which is to vindicate themselves from the person who is doing them wrong and in this case, through no fault of David’s own. Secondly, David had advice from other men, which I would assume to be Jewish and God following, who told him he was justified in killing Saul and should do so. But above all, David listened to the Lord.

Often in our lives we seek advice from others which is biblical, but we only seek advice from those who will tell us what we want to hear, not what we need to hear, whether it be consciously or sub-consciously. We can all be guilty of this and especially when we in a leadership role and have success. Our egos become bigger, and we may only surround ourselves with those who think like us and agree with what we say. We need to reflect on if we are just looking for affirmation of our thought and actions or if we are truly looking for Godly, biblical advice which is unbiased from others.

I’m aware of a circumstance right now where a Christ follower is saying those around him are telling him he needs to keep going down a path which will seemingly vindicate himself to make him look better and other Christ followers look bad. However, there are many others who are well-respected Christ followers who I know who do not feel like the path which this person is headed down is the right in the Lord’s eyes and biblical. Some of these Christ followers used to be close to that person and others are essentially unbiased third parties. It just makes me wonder, is this person only surrounding himself and seeking advice from those who agree with him? I don’t know if he is or not and while I have my thoughts (it’s human nature to have those in every situation), I cannot be certain what God’s will is. I do know Proverbs 19:21 tells us above all though, “it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” 1 Corinthians 1:10 also states, “I appeal to you brothers, by the name or our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgement.”

We learn from David here that he listened to the Lord above all. He didn’t force the issue, and we see what happened here. Saul, David’s enemy, comes to the conclusion that because David did not repay Saul’s evil with more evil, David will ultimately prevail and become king which is in fact what happens. Saul’s spirit and passion for winning is crushed by David’s grace and kindness. I guess the saying, “kill them with kindness” can be true.

Let us use what we learned from David here to reflect on not only if we are seeking advice and counsel from others, but from whom. Are we seeking advice from those who are telling us what we really need to hear or only from those who are only telling us what we want to hear all the time? And above all, are we praying for and seeking counsel from the Lord and listening to His advice? Are we letting God decide the outcome of the situation like David did, or are we forcing the issue to try to get the outcome we believe is right because we think we have been wronged?

“The Lord will fight for you, and you only have to be silent”

Exodus 14:14

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Psalm 46:10a

Are You Flourishing?

I Samuel 21-22, I Chronicles 5, Psalm 52, and Acts 15

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.
Psalm 52:8

Here in the Midwest we don’t see many olive trees. People may buy them and keep them as an indoor specialty tree, but we do not have the climate to grow olive gardens in our yards. Olive trees require a Mediterranean like climate to survive. They need a long, hot summer and a cool, not frigid winter. Even in the right climate, an olive tree will only flourish when it receives plenty of direct sunshine and just the right amount of watering.

Isn’t this a picture of our life? We don’t survive well under harsh conditions that continue on and on. David wrote Psalm 52 as he was fleeing from Saul, who had betrayed him. He makes the point in this chapter that those who do not follow God will fail in the end. But, because he was trusting in God and keeping his eyes on Him, he will flourish like an olive tree in God’s house.

So many of us believers today are not flourishing, but struggling from day to day. We have allowed our eyes to be focused on the day to day problems and struggles rather than on God.

Trusting in God does not mean that life will be easy. But when we do put our daily trust in God, we can flourish like a well taken care of olive tree. Like an olive tree that is producing lots of fruit year after year.

Lets not live this life in survival mode, just getting by day to day. We have the choice to put our trust in Jesus every single minute of every single day. By keeping our eyes on Him, we will flourish like the olive tree in the house of God.