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Tag Archives: 1 Samuel

  • Tired of Trying to Measure Up

    Posted on July 7, 2014 by Alicia Bruxvoort

    Alicia Bruzvoort

    " ... The LORD doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7b (NLT)

    When my youngest son was a toddler, he accessorized every outfit with a bulky silver tape measure. Clipped to his waistband or hooked through a belt loop, the tool was handy for appraising just about anything — toy tractors, popsicles or skateboards.

    Although the calculations were useless to a 3-year-old with no grasp of numbers, Joshua spent much of his day wielding that tape measure.

    "Would you like cereal for breakfast?" I'd ask my little boy when he awoke.

    "Maybe, if it's seventy-seven," he'd reply as he aligned his ruler along the side of a Cheerios box.

    "Milk or juice?"

    "The one that's fifty-sixteen," my boy would answer.

    Eventually, Joshua's quirky obsession tried my patience. One night after he'd insisted on measuring every blanket on his bed before lights out, I complained to God: Could You make him forget about that silly measuring tape, Lord?

    The next morning when I frowned at myself in the mirror and harrumphed over my daunting to-do list, my Heavenly Father finally responded: Maybe your little boy will drop his measuring tape when you get rid of yours.

    At first, I ignored the conviction I felt when Joshua reached for his silver ruler. But in time, I realized I carried my own measuring systems. Only mine didn't decorate my belt loop; they adorned my mind.

    Here are a few of the faulty rulers I found:

    The ruler of productivity. This measuring stick assesses my value by my accomplishments: Did I read to my preschooler, fold the laundry or clean the fridge? It assigns value to completed tasks but fails to calculate the worth of immeasurable investments like cuddling my children or listening to a friend. When I rely on the ruler of productivity to establish my worth, time becomes a slave master rather than a gift.

    The beauty barometer. This gauge creates comparison and self-scrutiny. It makes me worry about the extra skin around my middle and the faded highlights in my hair. It changes the way I view the woman in the mirror. Do I look more put-together than I feel? Where did those wrinkles come from? Will anyone notice the dark circles under my eyes? The beauty barometer appraises external appearance but fails to calculate the value of inner loveliness.

    The happy homemaker meter. This measure prompts late-night baking sprees and glue-gun marathons. It propels me to create handmade Valentine's cards even though my daughter just wants store-bought Barbie cards. It produces guilt when I bring chips to the potluck instead of a hot casserole. The happy homemaker meter can twist fantastic ideas into exhausting must-dos and leaves me feeling more tired than inspired.

    Tape measures may be entertaining in the hands of curious toddlers, but they stunt the growth of women like you and me.

    Perhaps it's time to give up our mental measures, and let God grow us into the women He's dreamed us to be. His vision for us is refreshing and life-giving. Our key verse reminds us that, "The LORD doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7b).

    Eventually, Joshua traded his shiny measuring stick for a plastic transparent tape dispenser. With a giggle, he applied tape to his favorite book, his baby sister's bruised forehead and his broken Matchbox car.

    Rather than measuring, my son turned to mending. And that's just what God longs to do for us. He wants to destroy our tape measures and heal the wounded places in our hearts from constant comparisons and the failure to meet unreasonable expectations.

    In fact, when we exchange our faulty rulers for Christ's timeless rule, we may discover that our Savior's measuring stick is actually a wooden cross ... that functions like a roll of cellophane tape.

    So I'm abandoning my ridiculous rulers and metrics, in exchange for God's immeasurable grace and healing. Want to join me?

    Sweet Savior, I am tired of carrying my own cache of faulty measures. I want to trade my ridiculous rulers for Your timeless stick of grace. Remind me that my worth is immeasurable in You. Restore my joy and increase my faith. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Psalm 108:4, "For your loving-kindness is great beyond measure, high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches the skies." (LB)

    Psalm 90:12 & 17, "Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well! ... And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!" (MSG)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What is one faulty measure you need to trade for Christ's timeless stick of grace today?

    Find one Bible verse that speaks truth over the lies your mental measuring tape has created. Post that verse where you can see it, and use it as a prayer this week.

    © 2014 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 1 Samuel

  • I'm Tired of Praying the Same Prayers

    Posted on April 24, 2014 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn Cowell

    "'Not so, my lord,' Hannah replied, 'I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD.'" 1 Samuel 1:15 (NIV 1984)

    Just not having a good day. I'm tired of praying these same prayers!

    I debated whether or not to update my Facebook status to reflect how I really felt. Not every day is a good day. This day was especially hard as I held my prayer journal. I thought, I just don't have it in me to pray those prayers again. I'm exhausted, worn out. I might be able to read my Bible, but pray? Not today.

    I decided to share the reality of my emotional state on Facebook. Hoping my words would encourage someone else who was having a bad day and struggling to pray for things that break her heart.

    There was another woman whose prayers were hard to pray. Her name was Hannah, and for years she prayed for and longed desperately for a child.

    Each year, Hannah traveled with her husband to worship the Lord. One year in particular, the burden of her prayer was more than she could take. The Bible says, "In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD" (1 Samuel 1:10, NIV 1984).

    As she prayed in her heart, her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. The priest thought she was drunk! "'Not so, my LORD,' Hannah replied, 'I am a woman who is deeply troubled ... I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief'" (vv. 15,16).

    Eli, the priest, sensed Hannah's pain and stepped into her situation with words to encourage, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him" (v. 17). The story tells us that Eli's words made a difference, and Hannah left no longer sad.

    While a priest didn't respond to my Facebook status, my dear friend Julie did. She had read my post and called, asking, "Are you OK?"

    With those three short words, my dam of keeping-it-all-together broke. "No, I'm not." The flood of weariness from unanswered prayers poured out.

    From there, my friend reassured me she was praying for me, but it was her challenge that did my heart the most good. Her words enabled me to "go in peace," like Eli told Hannah to do.

    Julie encouraged me to pick up my prayer journal. Not so I could pray the prayers again, but to see God's faithfulness in the past.

    "Go through and read all the prayers God has answered in your life," Julie said. She assured me that remembering God's goodness would fuel me to keep praying and trusting God for those answers yet to come.

    I recognized wise advice, so I took my prayer journal and read of God's faithfulness to me and my family. In fact, I read it out loud. It made a difference in my attitude.

    God finally answered Hannah's prayer for a son after many years of prayer. And while I don't want to wait years to see answers to my prayers, Hannah's story inspires me to keep worshiping, praying and looking for His answers.

    Do you have a prayer you are weary of praying? Maybe it's time to focus on God's faithfulness in those answered prayers in your past.

    Dear Jesus, You are faithful, always. Though I may grow weary in praying for Your will and Your ways to be accomplished in my life, You never grow weary. Though I may not see what You are doing, I know You are working. Today, I rest in the comfort of what You have done in my past and all You will do in my future. In Your Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you have a way to record answered prayers? If not, consider starting a prayer journal. Start by listing ways God has been faithful to you in the past.

    Do you know a friend who is waiting on answers to her prayers and might be growing weary? Call her today to encourage her. Help her see the prayers God has already answered.

    Power Verses:
    Romans 10:17, "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." (NIV)

    Galatians 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 1 Samuel

  • Three Ways to be the Best Friend Ever

    Posted on March 7, 2014 by Micca Campbell

    Micca Campbell

    "Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself." 1 Samuel 18:1b (NIV)

    Growing up, my best friend knew everything about me. She knew which boy I liked, my favorite song and all my dreams. She knew my secrets too, like who kissed me at the skating rink. Friendships like that are rare, and these days I find myself longing for a friend like that.

    Making good friends in our constantly-moving society is getting harder. It's not that we don't want close relationships, but people come and go so fast it's difficult to establish long-lasting friendships.

    But it's more than that. Some of us have been hurt and betrayed so often we keep others at arm's length. Perhaps you had a close friend once who proved to have looser lips than you thought. Behind your back she spilled your secrets to others. You felt betrayed and rightly so. Now, you suffer from hurt, unforgiveness and distrust.

    While it's tempting to wish God would bring me a good friend, more often than not, He asks me to be a good friend to someone else first. That's when I need to go to Scripture for a reminder of what true friendship looks like.

    God knows the agony of broken relationships and our need for godly role models. That's why we're allowed to look into the lives of two biblical characters who succeeded at a long, intimate friendship. Their names are David and Jonathan.

    We find their story in 1 Samuel 18 and 19. Jonathan, son of King Saul, was David's closest friend. The king despised David because he was growing in popularity and because God had anointed David to be king — instead of Saul's own son. These facts enraged King Saul, and he commanded his aids and Jonathan to assassinate David. But because of Jonathan's love for his friend, he refused to betray David.

    Love isn't the only fruit of true friendship. It consists of sacrifice too.

    Jonathan is a picture of sacrifice. He removed his robe and gave it to David, along with his armor, sword, bow and belt. Jonathan was the potential heir to his father's throne, but we see him sacrificing his future as he gives David his place as king. We learn from Jonathan's action that true friendship means a willingness to sacrifice for each other. It's the choice to put another's needs, desires and wishes above our own.

    Loyalty is also a mark of true friendship.

    We're told that Jonathan went to his father and spoke well of David. He reminded the king that David had done nothing wrong. In fact, David had been loyal to Saul.

    Jonathan impresses me. It's tough to do the right thing and stand up to authority. We learn by his actions that a true friend is a loyal defense before others, and one who won't talk badly about you when you're not around. True friends stick up for each other and are ready to defend when others attack.

    Finally, true friends trust each enough to be themselves.

    When Jonathan told David that his father was out to kill him, the two were forced to say goodbye. The text in 1 Samuel 20:41 tells us that they "wept together." I love that.

    When your heart is broken, you can fall apart and a good friend understands. She won't try to correct you in your misery or tell you to straighten up. True friends let each other hurt. They weep together. They listen to fears. They don't bail; they stay. They allow you to be yourself — no matter what "self" looks like.

    God challenges me to be a better friend with the story of Jonathan and David. I check my heart to see if I'm loyal, loving, selfless and trustworthy, then I ask God to help me be that kind of friend and bless me with the same.

    A good friendship takes time. If things get rocky, don't walk out. Work it out. Give your relationship time to grow because a true friend is a rare and precious gift.

    Dear Lord, help me be a friend like Jonathan. And bless me with the same. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What kind of friend am I?

    What can I do this week to show loyalty, love, sacrifice and trust to a friend?

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 17:17, "A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need." (NLT)

    © 2014 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

     


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 1 Samuel

  • Radical Romance

    Posted on February 14, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah. 1 Samuel 1:19

    A radical romance is based on a rock solid relationship with Jesus Christ. When the Lord lights the flames of love between two faithful hearts it's heavenly. Their allegiance to the Almighty makes their allegiance to each other easy. Their love for the Lord ignites their love for one another. Their faith in God fuels their trust in each other. Their passion to know Christ produces a deep desire to know their lover’s heart. Radical romance flows from a radical worship of God.

    A romance with radical results starts in the margins of our relationship with our spouse. Margin is the white space in our schedule that makes us available to support our husband or wife. She may sign up for a couple's cooking class and would really enjoy your eager participation. He may love for you to accompany him to a sporting event, all decked out in his favorite team’s colors. Serve your spouse in a way they want to be served. Since it makes them happy, you are happy.

    “Our Master [Jesus] said, ‘You’re far happier giving than getting’” (Acts 20:35, The Message).

    Radical romance comes to couples who intentionally invest emotional energy in each other. It is the prayerful art of administering comfort before injecting truth. It is confronting Christ with my own sin before I confront my spouse with their shortcomings. Romance is the fruit of being engaged with our mind, will, and emotions, as we communicate respect and value. Intimate encounters flow from encouragement. Radical love shows a lost world that faith in God works!

    Most of all, be intentional in your time investment with one another. Perhaps you plan a long weekend to organize your calendar and budget for the next twelve months. Spend half your time working and the other half playing. Make it an annual goal to attend a marriage seminar. Study the Bible with other married couples and apply marriage best practices. Pray together for your children and aging parents. Radical romance blossoms from a radical resolve to love well.

    "The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband" (1 Corinthians 7:3).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, fill my heart with unconditional love so I radically love my spouse.

    Related Readings: Song of Songs 2:3; 1 Corinthians 13:8; Ephesians 5:23-33; Colossians 3:19

    Post/Tweet today: Radical romance comes to couples who intentionally invest emotional energy in each other. #radicalromance

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Samuel

  • God’s Silence

    Posted on January 25, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him” (1 Samuel 28:5–6).

    Sometimes God is silent. He is silent in our prayers. He is silent in our circumstances. He is silent in our relationships, and He is silent in His Word. His silence can be deafening because it seems that His silence is ill timed. In most cases, His silence revolves around a real need you are experiencing. You may feel that God is disinterested or that He does not care. The silence of God can be an overwhelming place to occupy and still trust Him.

    Your predicament could be like a heavy bar bell on your chest with no spotter available to assist you. You feel all alone and unable to fix the problem or correct the issue. You do not even know where to start. You are in despair, at the tipping point of depression. Anger has clouded your reason, and heaven seems indifferent to your hurt.

    Or, on the other hand, you are “suffering” from success and prosperity; yet God feels distant and disconnected. You have honored Him in the process, but He has not seemed to honor you with His warm and affirming presence. What is going on?  What is God up to? What does He want you to do next for the good of His kingdom?

    Indeed, God’s silence is your opportunity to remain faithful, even when you are unsure of His intentions for your life. He is God and we are not; therefore, we do not have to pressure ourselves to figure out everything that is going on. Managing the big picture is in His job description, not yours; so rest in His silence. Refuse to become restless, resentful, or rebellious. But still you ask, “Why the silence?”

    There may be two possible reasons for God’s silence—sin or sanctification; or it may be a combination of both. When God withholds His blessing and direction for your life, it may be the direct consequence of the sin in your life. This is why regular confession and repentance of sin are critical for the follower of Christ. This is like breathing for your soul. Sin is like cotton in the ears of our heart; thus, God’s voice becomes muffled, unclear, and eventually silent. Your removal of sin clears the wax from the ears of your heart.

    God’s silence may be used for your sanctification. He is in the process of making you more and more like His Son Jesus Christ. This is not always fun, though it is needed to learn God’s ways and His purpose for your life. Even if He is silent, do what you know is right today, and trust Him with the next step for tomorrow. Do not let silence overwhelm you; rather, use it as a springboard to trust God’s faithfulness.

    “O God, whom I praise, do not remain silent” (Psalm 109:1).

    What do I need to learn during my silent times with the Lord? Will I still trust Him?
    Related Readings: Psalm 83:1; Isaiah 62:1; John 12:29; 2 Peter 1:18

    Post/Tweet today: God’s silence is our opportunity to remain faithful, even when we are unsure of His intentions. #God’ssilence

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Samuel

  • God’s Messenger

    Posted on December 1, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment...” I Samuel 25: 32-33a

    God dispatches His messengers daily. You can expect a regular word from the Lord through others. They may represent His envoy of much-needed encouragement, or they may engage you with a regiment of rebuke. Whether He sends His messengers with a positive or a negative word, it is critical that you concur with their instruction. Your emotions may be driving you in one direction because you have been treated unfairly, even inflicted with a gross indiscretion. But God’s messenger is imploring you to take the more reasonable road of understanding and forgiveness. Just because you have been wronged, does not mean you are to wrong. Anybody can do that; it takes strength of character to not retaliate.
    God is in control. So leave your transgressors in His hand. Let the Lord deal with them in His timing. God’s messenger may be telling you to wait. This opportunity staring you down does not deserve your acceptance. Your pride and ego have nominated you to the task, but you know in your heart it is not the wise thing to do. Listen to God’s messenger and avoid a year of regret. Money and status are not worth jeopardizing your marriage and your health. There will be other opportunities, much better ones that will fit in your next season of life. It is easy to ignore, reject, or argue with God’s messenger, but think twice before you debate with Deity’s representative. They are ambassadors of heaven, reaching out to you on earth. He has things under control and desires His very best for your life.
    Many times, God’s messenger comes in the form of a friend who knows you all too well and has seen some of your destructive patterns over the years. He has your best interest in mind. Their desire is for you to learn from your unwise decisions of the past and flourish in the future. They are taking a risk with their friendship because they care. If they were self-serving, they would shut up. So, listen to God speaking through your friend, especially when it is not what you want to hear. He also speaks, frequently, through your spouse. They love you, and yes they may be fearful and insecure, but it is because they don’t want you to miss God’s very best.
    Do not allow ego and pride to blind you to their warnings and concerns. They may not understand all of the ins and outs of business, but they do understand the Holy Spirit’s promptings. This is a level of discernment which God has wisely given to them as your gift. Make sure you receive it and use it well.
    Lastly, reward God’s messengers. This is behavior that deserves recognition and appreciation. You reward the behavior you want repeated, and you rebuke or ignore the behavior that you want to cease. Do more than say you agree. Instead, make a big deal over their determination to deliver the truth. Instead of blowing off the messenger of good will, invite them into your circle of influence. Promote those who persist in pitching the facts. God’s messengers can be trusted because they bear news from your heavenly Father. Therefore, take seriously their words, and act accordingly. Listen actively to God’s messengers, and in turn, become one.
    The Bible says, “He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise” (Proverbs 15:31).

    Post/Tweet today: Money and status are not worth jeopardizing your marriage and your health. #God’smessanger

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Samuel

  • Evil for Good

    Posted on October 13, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    David had just said, “It’s been useless—all my watching over this fellow’s property in the desert so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good.”
    1 Samuel 25:21

    Sometimes, we receive the opposite of what we expect, as our good deeds can encounter an evil response. Some of those we have served seem to have forgotten our faithfulness, and gratitude has faded from their memory. They forgot the fantastic fruit from our labors, and it has become all about what might inconvenience them. You were there for them at their point of need but now in your need, they reject your request. It seems like a cruel joke. How could they forget your loyalty and the investment of some of the best days of your life? Yet, this export of evil is just what you are experiencing. There is a relational trade imbalance, as you are the brunt of an evil inequity.

    So what do you do when you are repaid evil for good? What is your response? Our flesh screams foul and our anger wants to attack. How could someone show their appreciation for our good will with apathy and disassociation? We want to instantly repay their ingratitude by inflicting some type of loss or pain. How you respond in this moment of deep disappointment will reveal your true character. Anyone can act like a Christian as long as everything is going his way. It is easy to be nice when everyone else is nice. However, when supposedly mature leaders let us down, and even respond to our requests with hostility, what we do next defines our true self. This is a test of our dependence on God.
    When evil intent is injected into a relationship, we must resist firing back with equally evil actions. We cannot lower ourselves to this kind of schoolyard revenge. The question is not, “What is the right thing for them to do?” The question is, “What is the right thing for me to do?” You can reverse the force of the verbal jabs by returning good for evil. When you choose not to fight false accusations by accosting your accusers, you repay good for evil. You trust the truth will come out at the right time, in the right way. When you choose to forgive the malicious actions of insecure and mean men, you repay good for evil. When you pray for ungrateful souls to see God, you repay good for evil.

    Above all else, anchor your hope for justice to be done in Almighty God. The Lord can take care of the business of dealing with evil people and their actions. Wait on the Lord to settle matters as He sees fit, especially if you have the power to crush someone. Trust Christ to take them down in His timing. Your window of reprieve is their opportunity to repent, so be patient. You would want this same grace extended to you. Evildoers may never change, but they might. It is a heart issue between them and God. In the meantime, when you encounter evil, repay it with good and then trust God. The goodness of God trumps evil, for evil is no match for good.
    The Bible says, “If a man pays back evil for good, evil will never leave his house”
    (Proverbs 17:13).

    Post/Tweet: Your window of reprieve is their opportunity to repent, so be patient. #evilforgood

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Samuel

  • Sworn Friendship

    Posted on September 1, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD… 1 Samuel 20:42

    Sworn friendship in the name of the Lord is serious and based on faith. When Jesus Christ is the central figure in a friendship, there is fidelity. Loyalty based on the Lord is an extremely strong bond for friends. There is no wavering of commitment when Christ is central to the friendship. A friendship based on the Lord takes on the Lord’s attitude toward friendship. He sticks closer than a brother. He never leaves or forsakes His friends. Jesus personified friendship as He served His friends; forgave, loved, taught, rebuked, prayed, and gave to His friends.
    Sworn friendship is committed, especially during dire circumstances. There is a commitment to always be there for the other person. It seeks out the very best for a friend during hard times. This is when friendships require an exorbitant amount of time, money, and effort. They become high maintenance when they become caught in a crisis. It may be a situation of the friend’s own doing, or a result of forces outside his control. Your friend may be on the brink of bankruptcy because of poor financial decisions. You serve him even though he suffers from self-inflicted wounds. Your friend’s health may be going downhill fast; if so, be there to listen.
    Sworn friendship in the name of the Lord defends you to the point of risking a right standing with other respected relationships. Faithful friends will stand up for you even when it costs them. It may cost them their job. It may cost them misunderstanding. It may cost them a promotion. It may cost them financially. But, because they are invested in you unconditionally, they are honored to defend you, especially in your absence. They ask questions of your unseen critics such as, “Have you talked to them about this?” or “I’m surprised by what you say. There must be more to the story.” Friends stick up for each other in the face of caustic critics. Love is not silent; it speaks up.
    Sworn friendship in the name of the Lord lasts. It is not a fair weather friendship, but one that lasts through the ups and the downs. Acquaintances fade away over time, but faithful friendships based on God last for a lifetime. Therefore, take an inventory of your friendships. Define the ones built on God’s principles, and give these godly relationships greater value. Be intentional in your investment of time with sworn friendships in the name of the Lord. Do not take these special friendships for granted. Pray for them aggressively.

    Above all else, cultivate your friendship with Christ. His model of friendship will raise the quality of your friendships. His friendship is forever. His friendship is immediately accessible. His friendship is honest and loving. His friendship is faithful. Jesus spoke eloquently about friends: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:13-15).

    Post/Tweet: Friends stick up for each other in the face of caustic critics. Love is not silent; it speaks up. #swornfrienship

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Samuel

  • Will You Give Me Your Son?

    Posted on July 30, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "And she made a vow, saying 'LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.'" 1 Samuel 1:11 (NIV)

    As my arms wrapped tighter around my son, I squeezed my eyes hoping the hot tears stinging my lids would stop. Forcing a smile I knew he'd want to see, I released him and stepped back on the airport sidewalk.

    Despite my efforts, tears dripped down my cheeks. I grinned and shrugged, unable to speak. Thankfully my son's gentle teasing helped get past the awkwardness of the goodbye. With a final hug, my 19-year-old left for a mission trip to China.

    Having children willing to serve God was my heart's desire before they were born. It was what I've prayed for since they were small. And it is what I have worked toward for years. I just didn't know it was going to stretch my faith so much.

    You see, long ago my husband and I dedicated our children to the Lord, and we raised them to serve God. I was thrilled at my son's decision to go on a mission trip, but the reality of releasing him to God's calling felt like a piece of my heart was being torn away.

    It was so much easier to dedicate my children to God during the three years my husband and I struggled with infertility. Each time I read the story of Hannah and her struggle with infertility in 1 Samuel 2, my heart leapt in hope. Just as she pledged her child to the Lord if He would only give her one, I was willing to do the same.

    It was also easier to dedicate my children to God once we finally had them, while they were wrapped safely in my arms.

    But standing at the airport, there was a fragile part of me that wanted to take back that offer. Fears rose up. My son is so adventurous, what if something happened? What if I never saw him again?

    I tried to put the fears aside, but hours after our final goodbye, I still had a crumpled tissue in my hand. It was then, I heard God speak to my heart. It was unmistakably Him. I'd never ask myself this question: Will you give Me your son?

    By that time my son was on a plane, so the question seemed pointless. But what I wanted to say was this: Well, now that You've asked ... the answer is no, I've changed my mind about all that dedication stuff I said years ago.

    In the weeks since that day, I've often wondered why God would ask that question since He didn't really need my permission. I've come to believe it's because He knows the influence a mother has on her children, even when they're grown. With words spoken or withheld, tone of voice, and emotional and financial support (or lack thereof) a mother can influence her children's obedience to God's call at every age.

    And in my case, God knows my fears have affected my children. Ten years earlier when my oldest son wanted to go on an international mission trip, my fears stopped him. At that time, I thought he was too young and the destination too far. Without my active support, his plans fizzled.

    Over the years, God has helped me overcome that fear time and time again, and eventually that same son went on other mission trips. Every time I've released my tight grip on my children to obey God, my faith has grown. Apparently my faith needed to grow again, hence God's heart check that day: Will you give Me your son?

    Gripping my soggy tissue, I whispered a shaky "yes." Hoping it was good enough, but sensing it wasn't, I answered again, this time with confidence: "Yes! You can have my son!"

    Immediately peace started to grow in my heart as I turned my eyes from my own situation to His plan for my son. Peace and joy continued to grow stronger each day.

    Sometimes I wish I were one of those mothers who never deals with fear. They seem so confident and faith-filled. But I've learned when I give God my weaknesses, His power is displayed and His kingdom is advanced. So in spite of a bit of trembling, and a few tears, I'm going to say yes each time God asks if He can have one of my children.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me in spite of my weakness. I want to trust You more and confess the times fear has held me back. Help me to be honest with You and receive Your strength. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:


    The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness by Suzanne Eller

    Reflect and Respond:
    Fear has the power to stop us from obeying God's calling for ourselves and in how we support others in their calling.

    How has fear affected your obedience?

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 56:3, "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 1 Samuel

  • Attentive to Children

    Posted on July 6, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Samuel continued as judge over Israel all the days of his life. From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah, judging Israel in all those places” (1 Samuel 7:15–16). “But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice” (1Samuel 8:3).

    Children need attention. They spell love T-I-M-E. We can be so busy, even busy doing good things, we miss out on God’s best, which is spending time with our children. They need time to laugh and time to cry, time to run and jump, and time to be still and nap. Children need time to pray, go to the library, make snow angels, ski, play dolls, dress up, make believe, play in the dirt, climb trees, and play hide-and-seek.

    Parents have the tremendous privilege of investing time in their children by having dates, hunting, and shopping together. You can take trips, run on the beach, chase sand crabs, swim, and watch the sun go down. You can eat a peanut butter sandwich and pretzels at their school, attend their sporting events, and proudly watch their school play or awards ceremony.

    If we miss our children experiencing life, we neglect them. If we neglect our children, there is a high probability they will reject us and/or our faith. Indeed, their perception of dad and mom is their perception of God. If we are distant, uninvolved, and disengaged, so they will see their heavenly Father. Therefore, invest time, money, and love in your children.

    Children require, and in some cases demand, a lot of attention. Your role is to be there for them, to be available. Your quality time with your children flows from your quantity time with them. You cannot stage or script quality time, it just happens, and you have to be around them to enjoy its benefit. When children are comfortable, they open up. Sometimes unexpectedly they begin to share their hearts. These spontaneous snippets of time become precious, teachable moments. Remember, quality time requires quantity time.

    For example, after attending their sporting event, affirm and encourage them. They already know about their mistakes. They just need to know everything is okay and they will do better next time. The most important part is showing up. You are the first person they look for in the crowd. When you are there, it shows you care. You cannot make up for these childhood days, but there will be other deals, work projects, ministry roles, and business opportunities. Be careful not to let work or ministry compete with your family.

    When at all possible, integrate two competing responsibilities. It may mean a family mission trip or serving together in the church nursery. If work requires travel, take a child with you. Make it a special trip with just the two of you. Let your children watch you “do life.” Let them see you trusting God with a difficult situation or watch you give Him credit for a great success. Then as they mature into adults, your children feel accepted rather than neglected, they respect mom and dad, and they embrace faith in Jesus.

    Prayer: How does my child like to spend time with me?

    Post/Tweet: Quality time with our children flows from our quantity time with them. #childtime

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Samuel

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