1 Samuel 15:1-16:23 Prejudice is simply prejudging a person before we even get to know that person. We often make up our minds that we are not going to like a person simply because of his outward appearance. God warned Samuel when he went to anoint a new king of Israel not to look at the outer appearance of the man. He instructed Samuel to anoint one of the sons of Jesse. As each of Jesse's sons passed by, Samuel knew the Lord had not chosen any of those seven sons. He asked Jesse if all the sons were present, and Jesse told him that the youngest was tending the sheep. His name was David. When David appeared on the scene, he was very good looking and had a beautiful countenance. God, however, did not choose David because of his outward appearance. He chose him because He knew David's heart. David had a heart after God.
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Proverbs 15:5-7 Is your house filled with treasures? I remember visiting a home in New Jersey and our host showing us all the treasures he had collected from his travels all over the world. There were paintings, statues and every kind of bric-a-brac, each representing a country he visited. I thought to myself, This man's life is wrapped up in his treasures and travels.
Proverbs 15:4 You have heard the phrase, "Divide and conquer." When there is division of any kind that disturbs unity, we are much more vulnerable to the enemy. The enemy does not have to use mighty weapons against us in order to divide us. Instead, he uses the mightiest member of our body, our own tongue, to divide and conquer. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. James tells us the tongue is like the rudder on a ship and the bit in a horse's mouth; this tiny member of our body has the power to control our whole body.
Psalm 107:1-43 A grateful heart is one of the keys to a joyful life. If we look carefully at the moments of our day, we will always see things worthy of our praise. This psalm lists many reasons to praise the Lord. If we do not see His hand in the moments of our lives, then we can praise Him for His very character and His works. Praise comes before worship, and one of the roots of this word is "worth." God's character and works are always worthy of praise. Praise is the first step we have to take when we enter His presence. Let's look the steps the priests had to take to enter the holy of holies in the tabernacle.
John 6:22-46 I'll never forget hosting a Russian Jewish lady on her birthday. The table was set with the finest china, and fresh flowers provided the centerpiece for the table. All the food was presented well, and I felt everything was near perfect. The moment I sat down at the table after much diligent preparation in the kitchen, the guest of honor said in her heavy Russian accent, "I need some bread. Where is the bread?" She sincerely felt she could not even begin her meal unless bread was on the table. I later found out why she was desperate for bread. Her hands were arthritic, and she used bread to help push things on her fork. Often she would just forget to use the fork and raised her food to her mouth on pieces of bread.
Psalm 106:13-31 All mankind has three things in common. We all have three major lusts in our souls: the lust of the flesh (seeking to fulfill our five senses in an overindulgent way); the lust of the eye (greedy longings in the mind that can cause greed and covetousness; pornography is caused by this lust); and the pride of life, which is trusting our own resources and ourselves more than we trust in God. All of these lusts are located in our souls—our minds, wills and emotions. These three lusts are the buttons Satan is constantly pressing with his seducing spirits. James tells us that God never tempts us, but we are led astray by our own lusts. The devil cannot make us do anything. We first have to open the door to him through one or more of these lusts.
Proverbs 14:30-31 This proverb says that envy is rottenness to the bones. Envy is a sin that brings only evil consequences. Some sins are a pleasure for a season, but of course, sin always births death in our lives in some way. The Bible tells us that the person who commits adultery kills his own soul. It may be years before we reap what we have sown, but beware, our sins will find us out. If we do not confess our sins and turn from them, there will be eternal consequences also. We will not lose our salvation unless we commit the sin of denying our faith in Christ, but we will lose some rewards in heaven if we do not deal honestly and openly with our sins here on earth. When we confess our sins, God is faithful and just not only to forgive our sins, but also to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We can go to heaven with a clean slate if we have not hidden iniquity in our hearts by refusing to confess our sins and turn from them.
1 Samuel 1:1-2:21 It was not until this morning that I realized I have been singing often in my private worship time Hannah's song. When Hannah brought Samuel to the temple to lend him to the Lord as her thanks to God for the conception and delivery of this precious son, she prayed a powerful prayer that acknowledged the sovereignty and power of God: "There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God" (1 Sam. 2:2, KJV).
Proverbs 14:26-27 This proverb tells us that the fear of the Lord will give us strong confidence, and our children will have safety because they have a place of refuge. One of the major problems in America is that our children are not being taught to fear the Lord. I just recently taught an eight-week study on the fear of the Lord, and we learned that the fear of the Lord is not caught; it is taught. Parental instruction in the Word of God seems to be waning, and we are reaping the consequences. We see the shootings in the high schools in America, and recently there was even one in the first grade. We learn in this proverb that the fear of the Lord is a fountain of life and keeps us from the snare of death.
John 4:5-42 Immediately after Jesus told the woman of Samaria that she had five husbands and that the man she now had was not her husband, she changed the subject. She saw that this Man knew well her history, but she was not willing to go into it with Him. She proceeded to ask Him a theological question. How like human nature. When someone is getting too close to the truth in our own lives—our own sin and shortcomings—we want to change the subject. The woman asked Jesus where He believed was the correct place of worship. The answer Jesus gave is revealing. "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him" (vv. 21-23).
Proverbs 14:22-24 In a previous devotional we talked about the saying "Loose lips sink ships," which was a by-word in World War II. Those who were working in the war effort were cautioned to be extremely careful about what they shared with others. They didn't want any information to leak out to the enemy. We also have an enemy, and he uses our very own words as ammunition against us. We forget that the devil cannot read our minds, but he can give us thoughts and can hear what we say. A lot of the time we do his dirty work for him just by being careless in our words.
Psalm 104:1-24 This psalm is so beautiful in its description of the majesty of God. This would be a great psalm to read when you are at a low point in your life. As I read about the creative power and manifold works of our God, confidence welled up within me, and I knew without a doubt that God could handle my every problem.
John 2:1-25 My husband and I lead tours to Israel, and we are about to take our sixth trip together there. We always make sure we do not miss the lovely chapel that now marks the place where Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding of Cana. The presence of the Lord is always so strong in this place.
John 1:29-51 How many times have you called a person, only to receive a taped message? Because of great advancements in the technology of the computer and satellites, we have become a faceless society. At the same time we also have a society in which there is no privacy. Even though my face may not be known to others because I never have face-to-face communication with them, my whole life is known to others. Via the computer and satellite others know all about me—my buying habits, how much money I have in the bank, my age and the number in my family.
John 1:1-28 John begins his letter with the words "In the beginning was the Word." The Word was Jesus. He is the living Word. The Father is a Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the breath of God and Jesus is the Word of God. The Word of God took the form of flesh and came to live here on earth. I like to say God decided to put on an earth suit so He could come live with us. Jesus was with the Father from the foundation of the earth. When God said, "Let there be light," the light of Jesus began to shine on this earth. Jesus is the true Light that lights every man who comes into the world.
Psalm 100:1-5 Every morning I try to have an hour with the Lord. Many people call this time their devotional time or their prayer time, and some call it their quiet time. My quiet time is not very quiet.
Luke 23:44-24:12 This passage tells about Joseph of Arimathea, who provided the sepulchre for Jesus' burial place. Luke describes Joseph of Arimathea as a counselor, a good and just man. He also had refused to condemn Jesus. The name Joseph in Hebrew means "provider."
Psalm 97:1-98:9 Our own righteousness is as filthy rags, but the Lord's righteousness is filled with blessing upon blessing. We can only tap into the Lord's righteousness when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. From that moment on we are considered righteous, not because of our own righteous deeds, but because of the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for us. Because of His blood that provided our forgiveness, cleansing, justification, sanctification, glorification and righteousness (right standing with God), we are now dressed in His robe of righteousness. We begin a life journey of blessing if we continue to abide in His Word and His love and obey His commandments. Of course, we will experience trials and temptations (and probably many of them) before we go to heaven, but Jesus the Righteous One will fight our battles, and the ultimate victory will be ours.
Luke 22:55-23:10 This passage in Luke tells about Peter's denial of Jesus. Yesterday we talked about the sinking feeling we experience when we face certain difficult situations. Fear and discouragement can cause the sinking feeling. Today we see an even deeper level of emotional turmoil. When Peter denied Jesus, he had more than a sinking feeling. He had a sinking heart. His heart was broken. When the Lord turned and looked at Peter after the cock crowed, Peter remembered the word of the Lord and how He told him that before the cock crowed he would deny Him three times. Peter left the scene and wept bitterly.
Psalm 94:1-23 Everyone during their lifetime experiences that sinking feeling. It may be fear that usually hits us with a racing heart and a sinking feeling in the pit of our stomachs. It may be discouragement. The saying goes that when the devil created the tool of discouragement, he then ceased from his works. We may have that sinking feeling when we are experiencing the loss of a loved one. When we receive the report we have been turned down for an interview, once again that sinking feeling overwhelms us. The psalmist David was quite familiar with the sinking feeling. Flight and fight were his constant companions during his lifetime. In this psalm he reveals how he was able to survive the sinking feeling. He writes, "Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul-.-.-.- They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. But the Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge" (vv. 17-19, 21-22, KJV).
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