Let’s PRAY together:
Lord, let our souls rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us: wherever He may send us;
The world is broken Father, we need your help.
Heal the sick, encourage the healers, guide our leaders.
Show us how to glorify Your name today.
Show us how to love like You love.
may You guide us through the wilderness: protect us through the storm;
may You bring us home rejoicing: at the wonders You have shown us;
may You bring us home rejoicing once again into our doors.
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. (Romans 6:22 ESV)
trans·for·ma·tion (noun) /ˌtran(t)sfərˈmāSH(ə)n/ - a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.
Transformation is only appealing if we want things to change. Last weekend Mike and I went on a brief vacation to celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary. We went away to an Airbnb in Fayette County. We had no real big plans; rest and relax. It happened that HGTV was running a marathon of a home renovation show HomeTown, which we had never seen before (we don’t have cable). We love home renovation shows since we have renovated, built, and rebuilt many homes ourselves. On the show, each home was a wreck, broken down, in need of new systems, or cosmetic updating; they needed transformation.
If we look at the verse from Paul’s letter the church in Rome, do you see the transformation? Free from sin->slave to God. I am not sure that we want the second half of that deal. We want to be free from sin, we want our lives to be easy, comfortable, and awesome. But I am not sure we want to surrender our lives over to God; however, we don’t get it both ways.
When we accept Jesus as Lord of our lives, we are accepting His leadership. The rest of our lives is the “thorough and dramatic change” of putting what God wants first over what we want. I want to slap my brother, I want to lie to avoid trouble, I want to hate the person who has been unkind BUT because of Christ I will not slap, lie or hate. That is sanctification; a cleansing from our former sins and we receive new life now and new life forever.
Here Eugene Peterson’s take on the verse, “But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way!”
DAILY SCRIPTURE READING
Our daily scripture reading comes from the following link… http://listenersbible.com/devotionals/biy/
If you have any insights into our daily readings, please feel free to share them with me.
I would encourage you to visit https://bibleproject.com/explore/1-samuel/ for an overview of the book of 1st Samuel as you read through it and then https://bibleproject.com/explore/2-samuel/ is the link to 2nd Samuel. This will help with the “big picture.”
1 Samuel 21:1 – 31:13
So last week, during my “time-out” from Gmail, we saw the conclusion to our study of the book of 1st Samuel. Saul will continue his pursuit of David out of jealousy. But despite this, David will not take advantage of the opportunities he has to kill Saul, both in a cave in En Gedi (24) and at a camp near the hill of Hakilah (26). David will eventually flee Israel to escape Saul, and he will live among the Philistines. David and his men will become trusted advisers and fighters for Achish, who at the end of 1 Samuel will triumph over Saul. Saul and his sons will fall in battle.
A lot happens in these concluding chapters, and it compares to an episode of Vikings, on Amazon Prime. There is an encounter between Saul and Samuel, even though Samuel is dead. David will chase down a group of Amalekites. I mean, it is an interesting story. If you turn the bible project link above, and watch the video of 1st Samuel, you will get a good overview of the conclusion of our book. The interesting note they will make, is that many of the psalms written by David, were written during this time period, as Saul was in pursuit of him. It’s worth the time to go back and watch this video.
2 Samuel 1:1 - 3:21
Our second book of Samuel starts with the idea, “don’t kill the messenger.” The messenger who seeks out David is an Amalekite who claims to have killed Saul, which is interesting because 1st Samuel ends with Saul taking his own life. Upon hearing of their death, David will write a lament for both Saul and Johnathan. I find it interesting that even though Saul had become David’s enemy, what we see is that Saul had been chosen by God, and therefore David maintained a respect for him, out of his respect for God. Think about the church, do we respect one another out of a respect for God?
Following Saul’s death, David will become king over Judah and Ish-Bosheth, son of Saul, will become king over Israel. There will be an ongoing conflict between the houses of David and Saul, until Abner will have a falling out with Ish-Bosheth and Abner will lead Israel in support of David.
John 18:1 - 21:25
We re-read these texts of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion yearly. They are probably some of the best-known parts of scripture to us. And yet, as you read them on your own, is there anything that stands out to you? Maybe Jesus’ responses to Pilate or the idea that the disciples were in hiding following Jesus’ crucifixion. How about Mary not recognizing Jesus after his resurrection or even Thomas’ unwillingness to “believe” unless he personally saw Jesus and touched his wounds. How well do we actually know these stories? It is important to pay attention to the details because there is so much in the details that can reassure our faith, if we listen.
Chapter 21 contains a story that many believed was added at a later point to the gospel of John. We don’t find this story in any of the other gospels, and yet the re-affirmation of Peter’s love for Jesus following his denial has become an important story to us. It is an assurance that even if we stumble in our faith, Jesus will not walk away from us. Do you find comfort in this story?
Psalm 68 is this great psalm of praise, for God’s faithfulness. Can you echo the words we find in it? Can you say, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens?” (68:19)
Or, in this moment in your life, does psalm 69 resonate with you? “I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.” (69:3)
It’s interesting how David can write both of these psalms. Each in their own way will point to a specific moment in David’s life. I hope in them, you will see honesty, and how we can come to God at any point in our lives.