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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Helping Those Who Have Been Humiliated

484 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 10:3 And the princes of the people of Ammon said to Hanun their lord, "Do you think that David really honors your father because he has sent comforters to you? Has David not rather sent his servants to you to search the city, to spy it out, and to overthrow it?" 4 Therefore Hanun took David's servants, shaved off half of their beards, cut off their garments in the middle, at their buttocks, and sent them away. 5 When they told David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, "Wait at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return." ( 2 Sam 10:3-5) David's gesture of kindness to Hanun is met with suspicion and an act of degrading mockery. In the culture of the day a beard was considered a man's greatest ornament. One could even swear by it. ( I wonder if that's where the three little pigs got their line, “Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin?”) A beard could even be offered as a pledge! You know, if I don't make good on this loan you may shave off my beard! Then to add insult to injury, they cut a hole in the back of their pants, exposing their buttocks, (another sign of degradation) and sent them away. The men could buy new britches, but it would take a while for the beards to grow back, so David tells the men to stay in Jericho until they grow back. Jericho was a city of ruins with fallen walls. It was like a deserted town and the men could avoid public shame. I think there is a lesson for us here in how to handle humiliation in the church. Allow me to use an example that unfortunately is becoming more and more prevalent in the church today.....divorce. Try to put yourself in the shoes of a man or woman who had such high expectations for their marriage, only to have the other party walk off. Think of the humiliation the spouse and children must feel. Here the church needs to step in and allow that person a place to recover from their wounds. We don't need to chatter about it and make a public display of it, just love on that person and give them the time and space they need to recover. We need to be their Jericho and help them rebuild the walls of their life. Father I pray for those who are enduring humiliation of any kind. Let us be a people that come alongside and be a part of the healing process.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

When Grief Strikes

483 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 10:1,2 “It happened after this that the king of the people of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his place. 2 Then David said, "I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me." So David sent by the hand of his servants to comfort him concerning his father. And David's servants came into the land of the people of Ammon.” ( 2 Sam 10:1,2) It is not specified in the Bible as to what this act of kindness toward David was. We can only assume it was something done to him when Saul was chasing David. So David decides to repay that kindness by sending an envoy to comfort Hanun in the passing of his father. The word “comfort” here is interesting. It means to sigh. I think we could learn from that as we seek to comfort those who mourn. So often, well meaning people grasp for words to say to those who are grieving, and quite frankly, we wind up putting our foot in our mouth. Instead of consoling the person suffering the loss, we inadvertently wind up wounding them. There are no words in a sigh, but a sigh sends a strong signal of compassion. There is no judgment in a sigh, no condemnation, no advice, just a wordless pronouncement that I am here, I care, and I have no answers. In sending emissaries to Ammon, David was sending a message that he appreciated the kindness that Nahash had shown him. He was telling his son (Hanun) that his father would be remembered by David as a kind man. What a sweet statement to make at the passing of someone else's loved one. To let a grieving person know that your life was touched by the kindness of the deceased, goes a long way, especially when it is followed up with a sigh. Father, help us to be kind people. Let us leave a legacy of kindness, and help us to do a better job of comforting others. In Jesus name, Amen

Monday, October 20, 2014

Don't get Greedy

482 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 9:9-13, “And the king called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him, "I have given to your master's son all that belonged to Saul and to all his house. 10 "You therefore, and your sons and your servants, shall work the land for him, and you shall bring in the harvest, that your master's son may have food to eat. But Mephibosheth your master's son shall eat bread at my table always." Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then Ziba said to the king, "According to all that my lord the king has commanded his servant, so will your servant do." "As for Mephibosheth," said the king, "he shall eat at my table like one of the king's sons." 12 Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Micha. And all who dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants of Mephibosheth. 13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem, for he ate continually at the king's table. And he was lame in both his feet. (2 Sam 9:9-13) This is such a great story. We can't repeat it enough. David's kindness to Mephibosheth mirrors the kindness of the Lord to us. We like Mephibosheth are crippled. But our crippling is a spiritual one called sin. But Jesus came, sought us out, deals with our sin, and allows us to sit at table with Him in the heavenly banquet to come! Ziba is given charge by David to take care of Mephibosheth's estate. It's called stewardship. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but as we shall see, Ziba, with his 15 sons and 20 servants would get a little greedy and plot to keep the whole estate for himself and his family. This is something we all need to guard against. God has given us charge of His estate, He has made us stewards, and we are not to use that responsibility to build our own kingdoms at the expense of others. 1Co 4:2 says, “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” Father thank You for the grace and mercy that allows us to sit at table with You. Help us to be good stewards of all that You have given us to manage, until Jesus returns.

Friday, October 17, 2014

We Are Royalty!

481 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 9:6-8, “Now when Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, had come to David, he fell on his face and prostrated himself. Then David said, "Mephibosheth?" And he answered, "Here is your servant!" 7 So David said to him, "Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father's sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually." 8 Then he bowed himself, and said, "What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?" (2 Sam 6b-8) I love the story of Mephibosheth! Once, a member of a royal family, but now deposed, and physically crippled to boot. He lived in a society that assigned little or no value to him. He knew it, and even referred to himself as a “dead dog.” But David seeks him out, restores his royal estate, and bestows the highest honor of always being welcome at the king's table. What a beautiful picture of what God has done for us through faith in Jesus. We too were once a member of the royal family, but then Adam and Eve sinned, they were deposed, and as their children we lost our estate. Crippled by sin, we were like Mephibosheth, “dead dogs.” But Jesus came, and like David, sought us out, restored our heavenly estate, and invites all of us who are crippled by sin to eat at His table continually. Note too, how Mephibosheth approached David as he was called into his presence. We too approach Jesus in true humility, with hearts willing to serve Him. And listen to His promise to us found in Lu 22:29,30, "And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30 "that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Jesus speaks to us as David spoke to Mephibosheth! And we like Mephibosheth are elevated from the status of a dead dog, to members of the royal family! Thank You Lord for including me in Your kingdom. Let me ever serve You with a glad and thankful heart.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

At Your Service!

480 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 9:2-6, “And there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba. So when they had called him to David, the king said to him, "Are you Ziba?" And he said, "At your service!" 3 Then the king said, "Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, to whom I may show the kindness of God?" And Ziba said to the king, "There is still a son of Jonathan who is lame in his feet." 4 So the king said to him, "Where is he?" And Ziba said to the king, "Indeed he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, in Lo Debar." 5 Then King David sent and brought him out of the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo Debar. 6 Now when Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, had come to David, he fell on his face and prostrated himself. Then David said, "Mephibosheth?" And he answered, "Here is your servant!"” David is bent on honoring his promise to Jonathan to extend kindness to his family and so he calls Ziba, a servant in the house of Saul to him to find out if there is anyone still alive in Jonathan's family. Pay attention to Ziba's response when he arrives at the palace. He tells David that he is “at his service.” In that one short phrase, he admits to David that he is an underling, and he is willing to take orders from him. This should be our attitude toward those authorities that God has appointed over us, unless of course they demand that we do something contrary to God's Word. In those cases we are to answer to the higher authority of God. Note too, the response of Mephibosheth when he is ushered into the presence of David. He says, “here is your servant!” The idea of willing obedience to the authority of God is woven throughout Scripture! Men like Abraham, Samuel, Isaiah, Peter, Paul, and so on have responded to God's call by simply saying, “Here I am,”which is another way of saying, “at your service!” The lesson is plain. God is looking for willing servants. None of these men approached their Master with “So what's this all about?” No, they simply put themselves at the disposal of their Master, and waited for further instructions. This is what we do when we surrender our lives to Jesus. He is our Savior, but He is also our Lord, and when we receive Him into our lives, we need the same attitude of Ziba and Mephibosheth. Thank You Jesus for calling me to You. Here I am, at Your service!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Always Remember Where You Came From

479 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 9:1, “Now David said, "Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" (2 Sam 9:1) David has secured the borders of Israel. He has appointed his cabinet, and God has granted him a period of rest. It was during this time that David evidently had done some reflecting. He found himself considering a promise he had made to his beloved friend Jonathan many years ago. We read about it in 1Sa 20:14,15 "And you shall not only show me the kindness of the LORD while I still live, that I may not die; 15 "but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever, no, not when the LORD has cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth." Isn't that something? Jonathan's challenge to David was to be addressed “when the Lord had cut off every one of David's enemies,” well that day has arrived, and David seeks to make good on his pledge. The word “kindness” here is the equivalent of the New Testament word for grace. So David is wondering if there is anyone left in the family of Saul, that he can show grace or unmerited favor to. When you came to Christ, God, in a sense, gave you rest from your great enemy...sin. No more guilt, you now have peace with God through the blood of Jesus. Col 1:20 tells us, “having made peace (with God) through the blood of His cross.” And now with this God-granted peace, we are to look for ways to extend that same grace to others. Col 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” So enjoy your peace, but always remember where you came from, and look for ways to extend that same kind of unmerited favor to others. Father, thank You for giving me rest from my sins, help me to have that same kind of gracious spirit in my day to day interaction with others. In Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Blessings of Good Government

478 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 8:15 So David reigned over all Israel; and David administered judgment and justice to all his people. 16 Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder; 17 Zadok the son of Ahitub and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar were the priests; Seraiah was the scribe; 18 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David's sons were chief ministers. (2 Sam 8:15-18) David, with the help of the Lord has secured Israel's borders, and now we read of how he has secured the day to day operation of his government. Under his leadership all judgments (governmental decisions) were carried out in a just manner. There was no partiality. In this sense we see once again that David serves as a type of Christ who makes war against the enemies of God and judges perfectly. “and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. (Rev 19:11) Then we read of how David delegated responsibilities n governing the people. We could call this his cabinet. Joab was made the Secretary of War, Jehoshaphat was the record keeper. (By the way, it's always a good idea to keep meticulous records in any administrative position. Whether you own your own business, or just keeping track of your family finances, good record-keeping can prevent a lot of problems down the road.) Zadok and Ahimelech were in charge of the priests, who basically performed religious duties designed to maintain and nurture Israel's relationship with God. Seraiah (sair A ah) was the chief scribe and the scribes duties were to study and interpret the Word of God, for the purpose of day to day application. Benaiah (Ben A ah) was in charge of David's personal bodyguards or what we would call the Secret Service, and finally David's sons carried out the duties of princes. Secure borders, secure system of government, what a gift from God! God thank You for the gift of secure borders and good civil government. Continue to guard our borders, bless our government when it is good and correct it when it is bad. In Jesus name, Amen.