Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 17 "Under the Care" I Samuel 25-27

Under the Providence.  David moves into the camp of Saul, takes his spear as proof.  He was there.  God was there, too.  And David's response:  Who can raise his hand against his king and be guiltless?  David held honor for this king's calling.  I Samuel 25:9.  David knew that all things were under God's hand.

Under the Mercy.  In I Sam 26:39, David takes the widow, Abigail, as his own wife.  Abigail's response is so beautiful:  "She bowed with her face to the ground and said, "Behold, your handmaid is a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord."  A powerful strong man is asking for Abigail's hand.  And she is ready to serve.

Under the Care.  God took care of David in his wilderness.  Saul's army falls into a deep sleep caused by the hand of God so David could enter and reveal God's beauty to Saul.  David would not lift a finger to prove his point, to take revenge, to make a statement.  David lived in "spent sorrow."  He never took matters into his own hands even when all aligned.  This is holiness --- not righting wrongs but rightly dividing the Word of God.  No spears.  No personal agendas.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Father, What stirs within our hearts this day?  Am I wrapped and warped in my own plans or how I think You should act.  Please come and be the Ruler of my life.  I lay down my own rule.  No more spears of tongue and hand and feet.  Make us a people ready to serve like Abigail and reflect Your Beauty.  And where we "miss," thank you for unknown fresh new grace.  Under the Grace of God.

PHOTO:  I saw the sun set tonight at the Quarries Lake and ran to meet it saying in my heart Psalm 56:9.  My God is for me, even in the midst of all of this.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April 16 "God Is For Me" Psalm 56, 120, 140-142

In the wee hours of the morning, when we toss-and-turn, when our thoughts burn bright/loom dim, when no one answers us back---it is that moment and every moment that our God sees us, knows our way.

"You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
This I know, that God is for me."  Psa 56:9

I read these salty words sandwiched in at Which 'Wich.  My tears flow unexpected when my eyes land on nine.  God is for me.  Even in this in which I sit, smothered and serene.  Because as someone said on the internet on Sunday, it's like a "sad celebration"---sad over the scintillating sin in my life; glad over the unspeakable joy in calling on God and He is answering:  He is for me!  And His Good Plan is unfolding the apron of my life.  Somehow.  Can't explain it.  My Hope lies in nothing/No One else.  I know!  My God is for me!  And it's not about figuring all this present stuff out.  It is all about belief and surrender and rest.  

It is such a joy to live out with all of you the hard things that life requires of every one of us.  People look good on the outside.  But what are we doing with what wrestles inside of us?  

We cling to You, O God!  The Great I AM.  
Otherwise, we shape You into what I WANT you to be.  
I AM or i want.  

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Father, May all that we face this day make us stronger, dependent, holding fast to You.  Our tears, our brokenness, our failures, our joys, our doubts, our tremblings, our faith.  Make new Light appear in any darkness; make the light shine brighter in any trust we show.  Thank You from the bottom of our hearts for Psalm 56:9 ~ that You are for me!

PHOTO:  Sunset in a Desert in my own life.  Thinking about David's sunset spent in such sorrow.  And how this young man fell forward on a Good God Who knew his way.  David knew God was for him.

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 15 "13,680 Days I've Thought About This" Psalm 7, 27, 31, 34, 52

David is "spent with sorrow." And He turns to the One Who orchestrates it all. Does anyone really know if Saul will catch David---only those who have read the ending of the story. And what would Saul do to David, his son-in-law? Our times are in God's Hands, not in the multitude of our friends, not in the safety of our family. Our God "lengthens or shortens, makes bitter or sweet, according to the counsel of His Will." M. Henry.

It's a Beautiful God that pours out of David in calamity. His wife is not with him---could she save him from her dad? David's friends are dwindling---he's not the safest choice to have as a friend. But David believes deeply Psalm 27:13-14 as he pens the words. It's a verse I have thought about day-in day-out for the past 13,680 days. "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the Goodness of the Lord." Take Courage. Wait for the Lord, not for any man.

What matters most for David, for me, for you is that we live and move out of sincere desire to know God and draw out of others the people God intends for them to be. So, what stirs in our heart most deeply as we read and pray and live and love and give? Does my heart stir to advance God's agenda or complete my own agenda this day? And just what is God's agenda for my life?

"Is it closing the deal or revealing the character of My Son as you negotiate? Is it finding a way to get your spouse to understand how abandoned you feel or revealing the character of My Son as you deal with your troubled marriage?" 66LL

One would never know upon reading these psalms that David's life was in danger 24/7. David wasn't looking for answers, he was looking for God.

"The LORD is my Light and my salvation.

The LORD is the Stronghold of my life." Psalm 27:1

There are places in David's heart that are being redeemed. And the same for each of us. Not based on merit.  Based on desire.

COME BOLDLY: Timeless Prayers
II Thes 1:11-12
May God count you worthy of His Calling and may He fulfill every desire for good within each of you.  May He do a work of faith with Power in you and through you.

PHOTO:  Santa Rosa Island.  It is a Beautiful God Who pours out of the pearls who read these words.  Your desire to know God is so genuine and beautifully rabid.  Bitten.  Smitten.  Grasped. Glorious.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

April 14 "After Whom Do You Pursue?" I Samuel 21-24

Do I see that Providence works in the enemy's heart for my good?  The sun rises on both the good and the bad. God was moving for David even when it looks bad.  There's a verse in yesterday's reading that so made me wonder:  God detained Doeg so that he knew where David was.  Otherwise, Doeg would have never been able to tell Saul of David's whereabouts.  Saul pleads in front of Doeg:  None of you feel sorry for me.  None of you disclose that my very own son is stirring up David against me.  So, turn and kill all these priests of God who helped David.  And the King's servants say unequivocally, "No!"  So, Doeg does it.  The man God detained to spy on David.  Not only does he kill 85 men of the cloth but an entire city of Nob for the shelter provided David.

How could David possibly feel when he learned of the news that people were dying because of him?  And Saul continues to pursue every day!  I Sam 23:14.  But God does not give David into Saul's hand.  I Sam 23:28.  A Rock of Escape.

David has 400 men with him---the discouraged, the depressed, the down-and-out.
Saul has 3,000 men with him---the arrogant, the confident, the jubilant, the best.
Yet . . .
David wins.
David spares Saul's life when he has a chance,
screaming after Saul:
"After whom do you pursue?" --- The person who just saved your life!

What am I really pursuing?
After whom do I pursue?

Under The Providence of God.
Sheltered by The Rock.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Father, may we see that nothing happens by chance in your government.  What appears as good.  What appears as evil.  You are superintending your world.  No accidents.  Just a Special Supervision.  Divine Execution.  Gracious Provision.  May we live this day under your Gorgeous Grace.

PHOTO:  A golden sun outside of my airplane window somewhere between here and there.  A candidate for David's army.

April 13 "Divine Grace At Work" I Samuel 18-20; Psalm 11, 59

A dad has a javelin in his hand.
A son has a harp in his hand.
What's in my hand?

Immediately David faces difficult times with Saul because he was victorious.
"Saul struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands." I Sam 18:7.
Too much for Saul!  "Saul eyed David from that day on?"
And I saw it happen---I "eyed" someone this weekend.  Where do I go? To my knees.

Meanwhile Divine Grace is at work in David and me and you.
And David turns to God. I Sam 18:1 ~ "The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David."
Jonathan loved David as his own soul.
This one heart and one soul can only come from God---he makes us overlook the sins of that person:  "carnal matters are too weak to separate them." Love covers a multitude of sins.  Can we find this place with our own parents and husbands and children?

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Father, I Cor 2:3-4, In all our weakness and simplicity and lack of gifting, would you please demonstrate Your Power, Your Divine Grace all over our lives.  Father, help us this day to be real with ourselves because You are very near.  We thank You for Great Proof of Your Power and Divine Grace in David and in each of us.  We can bear whatever we face; we can humble ourselves in how we are treated; we can fight where we are weak and struggling---by Your Divine Power. In You, I take Refuge, no flight, no fear beyond measure ~ Psalm 11:1.  Your Eyes see ~ Psalm 11:4.  Under Grace.  "The God Who shows me Steadfast Love," no matter what! Psalm 59:17

PHOTO: A swarm of stars.  Doesn't just happen.  A cosmic gallery.  Light years away.
Photo Credit: The Smithsonian Institute captured it on their Chandra telescope.  No known copyright.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

April 12 "Bow Before the People" I Samuel 15-17

On paper, Saul looks good.
In person, he looks even better.
Many people we know look good.
But, God, not us, looks on their hearts.
Saul defends the spiritual: I've obeyed God's Voice.
I've gone on mission; I've brought home spoils; I'm devoted to destruction.

What would repentance look like for Saul?
Saul is actually justifying himself before Samuel.
Saul asks Samuel to come with him not for his good,
but because he cared about what the people thought!
Oh God!  How do we justify ourselves in our sins?
Do we think God has not noticed?
Repentance is not a change of mind, "but a change of method." M. Henry.  "He is turned back from following me."

COME BOLDLY Timeless Prayers
Oh God! Are we guilty of the same things at times?  We have turned to follow You but we do fail.  Presumption.  Rebellion.  Heal our hurting hearts.  Change our methods.

PHOTO:  My Favorite Place on Earth.  Quarries Lake.  Where I go to pray and think and wonder and repent and praise.  Outside my classroom window.  Bucolic Beauty.


April 11 "Detached & Delivered" I Samuel 13-15

Saul doesn't become a bad king---he already is one.  God gives us all every opportunity to grow in grace and never be the same as we are today. This newly appointed king wouldn't take God's opportunity.  He built his kingdom from strong men, "any valiant man." I Sam 15:52.  He attached the mighty men to himself.  God never meant for us to be attached to anyone but Himself.

Saul won't repent from what is in his heart.  He takes matters into his own hands.  Saul looks with the eyes in his head not in his heart.  Oh! Saul waited 7 days for Samuel but gazed at all the scattering people.  I Sam 13:8-9. Saul panicked in sight not faith.  "Bring that to me"---and I will be very big about this and offer the burnt offering.  Not with God's plan or hand.  If we have any of this same kind of attitude that we have to take everyday matters into our own hands, may God reveal it to us.  Especially, where we are not willing to repent and still harbor our pettiness, our pride, our pristine life on paper.  We look good but for whom do we carry this life?  God's Glory or Saul's or our own?

Saul thought he was building a castled kingdom.
Turns out he was building his own personal prison.
"We learn through pain that some things we thought were castles turn out to be prisons, and we desperately want out, but even though we built them, we can't find the door.  Yet, maybe if you ask God for help in knowing which direction to face, you'll have a moment of intuition.  Maybe you'll see at least one next right step you can take."  Ann Lamott.  Saul attaches to mighty men not to his Master.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Father, You never meant for me to be attached to anyone but You.  Somewhere.  Somehow.  I attached to the strong, the wise, the successful.  And I can never Thank You enough for detaching me and setting me apart.  Detach us this day from whatever it is that we want more than the Love of God.  

PHOTO:  Waco, Texas.  A Stained Glass Window in the Armstrong Browning Library.  A poem of two lovers who have made their dwelling place in each other's hearts.
Beautiful Love but There is a Greater Love:
"I send my heart up to thee, all my heart
In this my singing."
God never intended for people to have a greater place in our hearts than He.
I send my heart to God.