FREE 21 Day Writing Challenge 1 Week Away!

Last year I set a goal for my blog to post a regular weekly series as well as two posts per month. This equaled out to a goal of 76 posts. In the year I have posted 82 posts, so I met that goal! However, the consistency was lacking. There were entire months with not a single post, and other months which had so many posts I am sure no one read them all. I want to steadily improve this piece of my blog this year.

The same thing happens with our personal journals, correspondence with family and friends, and our prayers as did with my blog this year. If you are hoping to fix one of those areas in your own writing life, Join my FREE 21 Day Writing Challenge HERE!

For those who join you will receive a prompt in your inbox each day of the FREE 21 Day Writing Challenge. It will be simple and even include the process and how to transform your words into the medium you desire: letter, journal, or blog post. Join now, this Challenge kicks off December 15th!

Advertisements

FREE 21 Day Writing Challenge Starts in 2 Weeks!

I am committed to improving my communication with my family, friends, and followers using this blog in the coming year. I have come up with a plan to scale from one post per month to one post per week in 2017. In the coming weeks I am going to jumpstart that commitment by offering a FREE 21 Day Writing Challenge for you all to share with me in this commitment.

So many people tell me how they wish they could write more, whether a personal journal, a prayer journal, their own blog, or even letters to friends and family. This challenge will help with all of those goals. If you want to start writing for any reason, even to finish that Christmas Letter you have been putting off, then JOIN HERE for FREE!

For those who join you will receive a prompt in your inbox each day of the FREE 21 Day Writing Challenge. It will be simple and even include the process and how to transform your words into the medium you desire: letter, journal, or blog post. Join now, this Challenge kicks off December 15th!

1 Samuel 27


First I was delayed in getting this chapter out because of Davy starting school; then, almost simultaneously, our internet started to have major problems, so hopefully this will post now and all will be well. Rather than post all of the missed weeks, I am just going to pick up from here so we continue to do basically a chapter per week. Sorry for the gap, but if any of you have gotten behind this gives you a chance to catch up at least. Stay tuned for updates on Davy’s school as I get my routine in place for blogging again.

Overview

After his meeting with Saul, yelling across the hilltops and getting Saul’s word that he isn’t planning on killing David since David had such mercy on Saul, David flees the caves. The chapter begins with David saying “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul.” So, he goes to live among the Philistines. The king of Gath, Achish, even gives him Ziklag which remains a city owned by the kings of Judah. David and his six hundred men go out and make raids against the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites as their new habit in the land. They kill every person so no one can report to the Philistines what David is doing. When asked about his activities he says he is killing Negeb. Achish trusts David, and so thinks that David truly has made himself a stench to his people and is on the Philistines’ side now.

Characters

David; Saul; the Philistines; David’s 600 men; Achish, the son of Moach, the king of Gath; David’s wives Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel; the kings of Judah; the Geshurites; the Girzites; the Amalekites; and the Negeb.

Key Verse

Verse 1 “Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.”

Cross References

Verse 1 Cross References

1 Samuel 22:5 Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.

Exodus 14:12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”

Numbers 14:3 “Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?”

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Isaiah 30:15 For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, and you said, “No! We will flee upon horses”; therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift.

Lamentations 3:26-27 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Is is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.

Conclusion

The crux of this chapter as well as of his life, and the other examples in the cross references goes back to the lawyer who asks Jesus, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” The answer: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus says, “Do this, and you will live.” (This story is in Luke 10.) But how often throughout the Bible and our own lives do we say in our hearts, “God is never going to come through on his promise. I probably just heard Him wrong from the beginning”?

God promised David the throne. Yet, our chapter today begins with David falling into the belief that Saul is going to kill him. It is good to wait, says Lamentations. Waiting is so hard to do, even with a cell phone to text. So, David decides to bide his time by going on his own personal raiding parties.

In my life I have a habit of self-sabotage which seems to me like David’s subconscious plan here. At the last minute before a stressful event I might start to nitpick little things or come up with a thousand legitimate reasons that I can’t be ready or I will get physically ill. David doing these raids is sure to backfire. He is sure to miss someone who runs to the king of the Philistines. Someone is sure to find out. But I think that David is feeling hopeless and trying to tip God’s hand.

I think there is a little bit of him that thinks, getting caught for this would be so much better than just being slaughtered in my sleep in a dirty rotten cave. I get to live with my wives here in Ziklag, we are comfortable. I still get to kill evil people all the time. Life is going my way, and darn it, if it doesn’t I will be in control of everything going South, too.

Boy do I feel that way a lot of the time. Sometimes I feel like I have been waiting so long that I forget what I am waiting for. I spend so much time thinking about how things should be better, I forget to focus on the promises God has made. My eyes stray from the goal to my comfort.

Love the Lord with all your heart—not saying in your heart, “God will never come through on His word.”

All your soul—my very being is tied up in God, I cannot worship comfort or money or possessions or anything else that I am tempted to believe would make my life better than God is making my life right now.

All your strength—I need my body to be fit for duty. I need to give God my best energy, my alertness, my abilities, and to strengthen my body for Him, for the actions He has called me to take.

All your mind—it takes discipline to meditate on His word day and night. So discipline your mind! Take the time to focus. Not just 5 minutes, but try 5 years of focusing on God, then another 5 years, then another and another and another, until you are face to face with God for eternity, then keep focusing your mind on Him.

Jesus in the Old Testament

*Even men and women of great faith can falter. David’s regular practice in the books of Samuel is to turn to God for guidance (23:2, 4; 30:8; 2 Sam. 2:1; 5:19, 23), to trust him, and to obey him. But in this episode, we hear nothing of David seeking God’s guidance through prayer or any other means.*

*The biblical writers are not in the business of sugar-coating even their more laudable human characters. David was a sinner, as will become much more painfully evident in 2 Samuel 11 and following. But David was also a man in honest relationship with God and capable of genuine repentance. Only the Greater Son of David, Jesus, was without sin (Heb. 4:15). God’s desire for his people is that we lean not on our own understanding but, rather, get to know and trust him with all our hearts (Prov. 3:5-6). But even when we fail, the good news is that “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).*

Hebrews 4:14-16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

1 John 2:1-3 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Old Testament section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please take a moment to leave a comment to share them with us.

To receive this Bible Study in your email CLICK HERE

A Prayer for Davy’s School

Lord,

Thank You for providing the timing and location for Davy to begin school this year. Give peace to his first days. Remove anxiety from his heart. Prepare him and be with him as he makes new friends. As Davy’s parents make travel plans and surgery plans be with the family in all of these new transitions. Give clarity and guidance in deciding which days of school this first year for him to miss. Thank you for Your Presence and Voice adding in all these plans.

Amen.

A Prayer for Peace



God,

You are a Master Physician. You desire healing, and with that healing comes Your peace. Kyrie receiving this surgery will bring much healing to her as well as her parents. Even before the surgery immerse the Liss family in Your peace and the only real security there is: You. You are completely in charge. Give the Lisses Your comforting presence as they prepare over the next few months. We leave all of our concerns, questions, and unknowns in Your capable hands.

Amen.

If you would like to receive these prayers for Kyrie in your email, CLICK HERE.

Read the previous updates on Kyrie’s Surgery Fundraiser HERE.

1 Samuel 24


Overview

Saul returns from chasing off the Philistines bringing 3,000 men to hunt David and his men. He goes into a cave to use the restroom; into the very cave that is hiding David and his men! David sneaks up behind Saul and instead of killing him, cuts off a piece of his robe. Immediately David feels badly about even this small attack on Saul and does not allow his men to kill Saul. When Saul leaves the cave, David comes out behind him and shows him the piece of his robe, pay homage, and call upon God to judge between the actions of the two men. Saul is overcome and weeps, sharing that he indeed knows that David will become king. He recognizes that while David is doing good, Saul is repaying him with evil. Saul leaves, and David returns to his stronghold.

Characters

Saul, the Philistines, the 3,000 chosen men of Saul, David, David’s men, the Lord

Key Verse

Verse 17 “He said to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil.”

Verse 20-22 “And now, behold, I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. Swear to me therefore by the Lord that you will not cut off my offspring after me, and that you will not destroy my name out of my father’s house.” And David swore this to Saul. Then Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.”

Cross References

Genesis 21:23 “Now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my descendants or with my posterity, but as I have dealt kindly with you, so you will deal with me and with the land where you have sojourned.” And Abraham said, “I will swear.”” (Abraham and Abimelech)

2 Samuel 21:7 “But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Saul’s son Jonathan, because of the oath of the Lord that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.”

Conclusion

This chapter speaks to the character of David, that he holds respect for the office of the king even when the king is pursuing and attempting to murder him. In addition, Saul again shows how little he knows of David. David would not kill Jonathan, Saul’s son, in any circumstance. Saul only has eyes for the power he has as king, and doesn’t realize that David will be king, but is not stealing the position. David is leaving it in God’s hands, while Saul is grasping at it himself.

Since my Bible didn’t seem to grab the Gospel connection in these cross references, I did a little digging today beyond my usual. What I see happening here is overcoming evil with good. David has God on his side, so he has nothing to fear. Therefore, he has faith that God will take care of it, and David need not put Saul’s life into his own hands.

Matthew 5:38-45 “”You have heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

In David we find an example of this very action. Jesus is not coming to cast aside old laws, but to help us see that God has not changed in all those years, we just chose a fleshly way to handle things. Here, Jesus is sharing that the better way comes from faith in God, a lack of fear in what man can do to us. When we are not afraid, we are able to follow these commands, and know that the pain lasts only in this life, and our true eternal lives will have no pain or tears. And maybe we will even have some people with us there who we were able to love when they didn’t “deserve” it.

Romans 12:17-21 “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

My mom used to use that expression about heaping burning coals on heads all the time. Prayer is a powerful weapon against the enemy, and the enemy has hold of a lot of people. We are hoping to help others escape the fire to Jesus. We must continue to look and run toward God. We have been called to a higher purpose, and it is the most important one in the world, to love God and keep His commandments.

Jesus in the Old Testament

        The comments in my Bible cover chapters 24—26, which I thought was a little much to read. Therefore, we will put a pause on this section until we finish reading chapter 26.

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Old Testament section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please take a moment to leave a comment to share them with us.

To receive this Bible Study in your email CLICK HERE

A Prayer for Timing

Jesus,

The whole world, all of creation, mourned when You died. Then, three days later, creation rejoiced at Your resurrection! You had it all planned out, down to the very hour of giving up Your Spirit and dying. You have also set in motion the timing for Kyrie’s surgery. Give guidance to Louis and Annie for the dates to take with their families. Confirm what to miss and what to join as they choose dates. You are in charge of all seasons, and You will be with them during this season. Along with the clarity You provide, bring peace about the inevitable missed people and events whether at Davy’s new school, the center, holidays, church (in both America and Lebanon), or people.

Amen.

If you would like to receive these prayers for Kyrie in your email, CLICK HERE.

Read the previous updates on Kyrie’s Surgery Fundraiser HERE.