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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ishbosheth and the Unborn

439 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 4:10 "when someone told me, saying, 'Look, Saul is dead,' thinking to have brought good news, I arrested him and had him executed in Ziklag-the one who thought I would give him a reward for his news. 11 "How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous person in his own house on his bed? Therefore, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and remove you from the earth?" 12 So David commanded his young men, and they executed them, cut off their hands and feet, and hanged them by the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth and buried it in the tomb of Abner in Hebron. Man this is messy.....real messy. But let's try not to get caught up in the gory details. They are included here to remind us how much God hates the spilling of innocent blood. Remember these two men went into the house of a man who had done no wrong, entered the sanctuary of his own bedroom and slew him. This is the lot of thousands of unborn children every single day in America. The innocent unborn child, in the sanctuary of the womb, is done away with either by chemical or physical means. The slaying of Ishbosheth is a picture of abortion wherever and whenever the innocent life, that begins at fertilization is ended. In our world today it is vital that we teach our children and others about the sanctity of life. They need to know....we need to know, that God hates the shedding of innocent blood. Pr 6:16,17 says, “These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, and Pr 1:15 says, “My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path; 16 For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood. Now, God is not going to come after sinners and cut off their hands and feet like David did. David did it as an example to us, to remind us that hands and feet are not to be used to shed innocent blood., and it is vital that we assure those who have participated in this act that there is no sin that Jesus did not pay for on the cross. His hands and feet were nailed to the tree, that our hands and feet (which are so swift to sin in so many different ways) may be spared. Abortion is like any other sin, in that it must be confessed, and then by faith, receive the gift of forgiveness that is offered through faith in Jesus. Father, thank You for this reminder. I pray that our land will once again cherish Your gift of life, and that You will set those free who are languishing in guilt because of any and all wrong choices made in the past.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Footprints In the Sand Syndrome

438, - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 4:8-11, “And they brought the head of Ishbosheth to David at Hebron, and said to the king, "Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul your enemy, who sought your life; and the LORD has avenged my lord the king this day of Saul and his descendants." 9 But David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, "As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from all adversity, 10 "when someone told me, saying, 'Look, Saul is dead,' thinking to have brought good news, I arrested him and had him executed in Ziklag-the one who thought I would give him a reward for his news. 11 "How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous person in his own house on his bed? Therefore, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and remove you from the earth?" ( 2 Sam 4:8-11) Once again David is approached by men who sincerely thought they were doing him a favor. Was this not the son of that nemesis Saul, who constantly sought to kill David? Would not the elimination of Ishbosheth give the kingdom to David free and clear from any more threats from the family of Saul? They claim that God used them to avenge all those years that Saul pursued David. But David makes an oath in the name of the Lord who had delivered him from all his adversity, to execute justice upon these men for killing an innocent man. If David teaches us nothing else let us learn from his determination to trust God to deliver him from adversities. How did he learn this? He learned it from God's track record in his life. Time after time David found himself in adverse situations with the Philistines and Saul, and time after time he waited on the Lord to deliver him. David also remembered and trusted the promise of the Lord given to him in 1Sa 25:29 "Yet a man has risen to pursue you and seek your life, but the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the LORD your God; and the lives of your enemies He shall sling out, as from the pocket of a sling.” The Lord would take care of his adversaries. And finally David knew that the Lord walked with him through all his troubles. “ Ps 31:7b says, “For You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities,” This is the old “Footprints in the Sand” syndrome.” Believe it. Trust it. Put it to the test! God knows your adversities. Let Him walk you through them. And know that more adversities are coming your way, but be like David and remember the Lord, who has, “redeemed your life from all adversity,”

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Violent World We Live In

438 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 4:5-7, “Then the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out and came at about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, who was lying on his bed at noon. 6 And they came there, all the way into the house, as though to get wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. 7 For when they came into the house, he was lying on his bed in his bedroom; then they struck him and killed him, beheaded him and took his head, and were all night escaping through the plain. (2 Sam 4:5-7) The power struggle continues. Rechab and Baanah devised a plan to assassinate the king of Israel. They would go to the palace during the heat of the day, when most people, including the king, would be resting from the heat. Their plan was to pretend to be visiting the palace in order to collect wheat. Remember, these men were captains of troops in Israel's army and it was customary to pay soldiers with wheat, so this activity was perfectly normal for them. So they sneak into the king's chamber, stab him, and cut off his head. They likely put it into a grain sack and then made their getaway. Sometimes the Bible makes for gory reading. But remember this is the real life stuff of the violent world we live in. Let's be honest, our newspapers often make for gory reading as well. School children, who should be safe inside the walls of their school, are massacred. Airplanes are hijacked and flown into buildings. All these terrible things happen because our world is infected with the disease of sin. Sin spills out of the wicked hearts of men and brings death and destruction with it. Is there anyplace that is safe from the effects of sin? I'm afraid not. One day, Jesus commented on the daily news in Palestine, where a tower had collapsed and killed many, and a bloody massacre had occurred in the temple. (Luke 13:1-5) He didn't say that Christians were immune to such disasters. He just used these events to remind us all, “unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” The message is clear. There are tragic eternal consequences for those who refuse to bow there knee to Jesus in the here and now, but there is also a safe place in the life to come, and that place is in the arms of Jesus. This is our only guarantee in this world, let us embrace it and Jesus today. Father, thank You for the safety and refuge we have in Jesus.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Glorious Unfolding

436 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 4:4 Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son who was lame in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel; and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened, as she made haste to flee, that he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth. What a tragic day for this family. They lost their grandfather, (Saul) their father,(Jonathan) and now the lone surviving son is crippled in an accident when the nurse who was carrying him dropped him. No ER, no hospital to go to, no doctor to set the bones. Mephibosheth is crippled for life. Where are You God in all of this! It's not fair! Whatever happened to those verses in the 91st Psalm? You know, “For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. 12 In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Were the angels on a holiday? These are questions that we often find ourselves asking when tragedy befalls us. It's okay. God's not afraid of your honesty. He just asks that we continue to trust Him, and He will turn our situation into eventual good. As we read on in 2 Samuel, we will see how God used Mephibosheth to paint an everlasting picture of God's grace. So stay tuned. Steven Curtis Chapman sings a song called “Glorious Unfolding” and I think the lyrics are appropriate here. “Don't try to figure it out, just listen to what I'm whispering in your heart. “Cause I know this is not, anything like you thought, the story of your life was gonna be. And it feels like the end has started closing in on you, but it's just not true, there's so much more of the story that's still yet to unfold. And this is going to be a glorious unfolding, just you wait and see and you will be amazed. You've just got to believe the story is far from over. So hold on to every promise God has made to us, and watch this glorious unfolding. God's plan from the start, for this world and your heart, has been to show His glory and His grace, forever revealing the depth and the beauty of His unfailing love. And the story has only begun. We were made to run through the fields of forever, (Was he thinking about Mephibosheth when he wrote that line?) Singing songs to our Savior and King. So let us remember this life we're living, is just the beginning of the beginning.” ….great song! So persevere in your situation, brother, sister, and know one day there will be a glorious unfolding for your story as well. Put that mental picture of Mephibosheth running through the fields of heaven for all eternity, singing praises to our Savior and King. In the long run, it's the only reality that matters.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Troubled Hearts: Breeding Grounds For Unwise Actions

435 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 4:1-3, “When Saul's son heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost heart, and all Israel was troubled. 2 Now Saul's son had two men who were captains of troops. The name of one was Baanah and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin. (For Beeroth also was part of Benjamin, 3 because the Beerothites fled to Gittaim and have been sojourners there until this day.) (2 Sam 4:1-3) The story of David's ascension to the throne of Israel continues with the introduction of two more characters. Baanah and Rechab were Benjamites who had high standing in Ishbosheth's army. The royal family of Saul was not in good straits at this time. Ishbosheth had lost all heart when he heard the news about Abner's death, and with a cowering leader, all the rest of Israel was troubled as well. Israel was in a state of fearful agitation. Fearful, troubled hearts are breeding grounds for hasty unwise actions. It was fear that caused Abraham to try to pawn Sarah off as his sister (Gen 12:12) It was fear that caused Saul to give in to the people and take spoil that God had forbidden ( 1 Sam 15:24) It is fear that often causes us to ignore God's instructions in His Word, and take matters into our own hands. No wonder we see the phrase “fear not” so often in Scripture. No wonder Jesus reminded us to not be troubled. Joh 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” Joh 14:27b, “ Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Yes, there will be circumstances in our lives that will produce a fearful unrest or agitation. When they occur, try to remember these words of Jesus and look at things from an eternal perspective. The Bible promises that even if we are troubled in this life, the day is coming when the faithful will receive their rest. 2Th 1:7 says, “ to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,” Father, give the troubled the heart to wait on You in their troubled times.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Help For Spiritual Bullying

434 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 3:38,39, “Then the king said to his servants, "Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39 "And I am weak today, though anointed king; and these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too harsh for me. The LORD shall repay the evildoer according to his wickedness." (2 Sam 3:38,39) David is fasting, mourning the death of Abner. Fasting is a powerful spiritual tool that God has given to His church, and Jesus made it clear that when He left this world, His disciples would engage in fasting. Referring to Himself in Mt 9:15b He says, “But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.” Jesus would no longer be walking side by side with His disciples, and they would need something to protect them from that bully, the devil. Now, here's the power behind fasting. We take nourishment for our physical strength. If you don't eat, you will become weak and eventually die. So our fasting, is meant to be a declaration of our own weakness. It is saying to God, the angels, the demons, ...all spiritual beings, “I can't do this, I am calling on the help of God.” Fasting is a picture of what the Holy Spirit spoke through the Apostle Paul in, 2Co 12:10b, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” So David, in fasting on this occasion, is admitting that he is not strong enough to take on Joab and his clan, He'll let God take care of the matter. "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. (Rom 12:19) What sort of spiritual battle are you currently engaged in? What besetting sin, keeps coming back to haunt you. What is causing you to be mired down in your spiritual walk? How is the devil bullying you? Have you tried fasting? Have you tries skipping lunch? Declare your weakness before the spiritual world in this physical manner and call on God to be your strength. Call on God to give you the eventual victory. Father, again we thank You for this powerful tool, give us the desire and the strength to use it!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fasting To Find Favor

433 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 3:35-37, “And when all the people came to persuade David to eat food while it was still day, David took an oath, saying, "God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else til the sun goes down!" 36 Now all the people took note of it, and it pleased them, since whatever the king did pleased all the people. 37 For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the king's intent to kill Abner the son of Ner.” Let's spend a little time today talking about fasting. It's one of the three spiritual disciplines of the Christian that Jesus spoke of in the sermon on the mount, the others being prayer, and giving to the poor. (See MT 6:1-18) Most of the time our fasting should be done quietly and privately, but there are times when it is appropriate to fast publicly. In this instance, those attending the wake for Abner seek to persuade David to have something to eat, but he refuses, announcing that he is fasting until sundown. This fasting tells everyone that the death of Abner mattered to David. He was genuinely sorrowful over his loss. His fasting had a powerful impact on all of Israel. They could see clearly that it was not David's intent to slay Abner. But I think there is more at work here. We are told TWICE in this passage that the people were “pleased” with David. The Hebrew word means that he was pleasing to their eyes,” in other words, he found favor with the people. This is not an isolated example of such favor finding due to fasting found in Scripture. When Esther desired a favor from the king, she asked the people to fast on her behalf, guess what happened when she approached and made her request? He replied, "Bring Haman quickly, that he may do as Esther has said." (Est 5:5) Are you in a situation where you need to find favor? Maybe it's a job interview, or a situation with a landlord, maybe even a relationship that needs shoring up. Have you tried fasting? Have you tried denying yourself food for a short period of time, in order to invite the persuasive power of God into your situation? Father, thank You for this powerful tool of fasting that You have made available to your children, may we learn to use it wisely.