My Portion

Lamentations 3:24    The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore, will I hope in him.

“Portion…” I was preaching the other night and came across this verse and it struck me in a very deep way. I enjoy eating. I enjoy it a lot. So portion is a word I do not need a whole lot of dictionary digging to affirm its meaning in my heart. 

Immediately when thinking upon the word portion, I consider someone cutting a pie. The cutter looks around the table sizing up the eater he is cutting for and then factors in the other eaters at the table while considering the supply of pie. Sometimes the recipient begins to get a look of apprehension on his face as the cutter seems to be running out of pie. 

The person cutting the pie understands and says, “Don’t worry; I have more pies in the kitchen. You will get a piece!” 

Oh, how that brings hope to the hungry table dweller. When it comes time for my piece to be cut, I begin to look with earnest attention. You see, this piece being cut is my portion. What hope charges through me when I consider the portion coming my way. This portion is the piece that is mine!

Our writer spoke of the Lord being his portion. He is the piece that is mine. What a comfort in this world in which we live where hope seems to ebb and flow as the tides of the sea! I have a portion in this life. The Lord is my portion. He is the piece that is I can count on with all that gets served to me in this life. 

Let hope grow once again. He, the Lord of Glory, is the piece that is coming our way!


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A Light Bearer

Matthew 5:14   Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 

As a child, I lived in fear of the dark. I am not sure why, but I did. I wanted a nightlight, or a door opened partway, or small lamp left illuminated. I laugh about it now, but it was a real and present danger to me. I dreaded the darkness. Now, as an adult, when it is time for sleep, the darker the room, the better the sleep. As for my fear of the dark, it is nonexistent.

When God first chose to start the timeline of man’s history, He spoke to this very matter; it was His first order of business. He did not act from fear; He was motivated by the truth that if anything is going to get done, there must be light. In creation, His first deed was “let there be light.” Yet again, at Calvary when darkness reigned, He saw to it that light would shine from out of darkness. 

People around us live in darkness. They need the Light. Christ’s words to us obligate us to turning on the lights in world. His words are clear: “ye are the light of the world.” In the verses following, He shares that there is public light work and personal light work. Note His illustrations. We are to be like cities on the hill, our public light work. Then there is the personal light work; He speaks of lighting candles in rooms. 

We are obligated to be light bearers. We must bear it in our personal work and our public work. Are you balanced in this? When you are one-on-one, do you turn on the lights? When you have moments of public ministry, do you let your light shine.

Are you the brightest light bearer for Him?


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A Gospel Goer

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations. . .

Years ago, I stood at the gate of a Romanian grandmother who had spent her days behind a wooden fence. The fence was symbolic of the confinements of her life. The economy, the uneasiness of transitioning from communism to democracy, and the hardships of living in such a rural setting all affected her life.

The day I arrived with a group of three, including a translator, we called out across the fence. She came to the gate and we exchanged greetings. We gave her the gospel and her first copy of the Word of God. She embraced it and thanked us.

That day, I was well reminded of the significance of being a Gospel goer. How many people live without knowledge of God, His Word, and salvation? The confinements of life must not shield us from going and prevent them from hearing. It is clear: we must be Gospel Goers!

Our investments in missions do not exempt us from going ourselves. How much Gospel Going do you do? How many people have you taken the Gospel to inside the fences of their lives and told them the way of salvation? This woman never was the same as the day we came and brought light to her heart, home, and village.

Would God assess your life and call you a Gospel Goer?

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20


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On the Rock

Exodus 17:6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

When I was a boy, our family lived in both Utah and Colorado. I remember as a family we went to the desert to explore. These memories are special to me. 

These journeys to the desert and wilderness allowed us time to explore and relax. I remember finding rock formations that beckoned us to climb to the summit. We would choose one.  We climbed up to get to the top of the rock. In our minds, we felt that if we were on top of the rock, we could conquer anything. 

Summiting these high places changed my siblings and my perspective; we saw things differently. Climbing to the top of the rock changed the perception of ourselves; we felt stronger. Standing on the rock brought me closer to my sibling; we felt closer. 

In our topic verse this day, the Lord has just told Moses he was going to get water for a thirsty murmuring people. These thirsty people were ready to stone Moses. Yet God was ready to stand by Moses. Moses was simply carrying out what God wanted him to do. God was not going to allow one of His leaders to be hung out to dry by a rebellious people. He was going to stand on the rock with Moses.

Moses knew this clearly; he was not going to a place of ministry by himself. He was going to a place where God would be standing on the rock towering over him. 

Standing on the rock with God changed Moses’ perspective on the situation. Ascending to the top of the rock changed Moses’ perception of himself. But the greatest effect had to be this: standing on the rock with God changed his partnership with God. He was closer to Him.

Have you felt burdened in your place of ministry? If you are where God sent you, He is upon the rock. Serve Him with this confidence. When you are standing on the rock with God, you are in His presence. You have access to His power. You have His protection.

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Treasures in your Sack

Genesis 43:23 And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them.

Joseph came from a dysfunctional family. There were sibling rivalries, rejections, and false accusations. Due to unresolved issues from childhood, Joseph's brothers despised him. 

The plot of Joseph's story was not just about dysfunction. Joseph's story had a subplot. The subplot was the story of Divine Providence. Our verse today brings us a moment in the life of Joseph that brings the plot to light.

Divine Providence placed Joseph in the proper place at the right moment. God arranged for Joseph to be in the position to sustain and secure God’s people before a famine. Now in the midst of a famine, God brings Joseph’s past to the present. His brothers arrive and he must deal with them. 

Human imagination can easily fill the task list of things he could do to them. Retaliation, retribution, and recrimination all seem justified. However, while any of these may come to Joseph’s mind, they are not what he chose to do.

Instead, Joseph chose to let God overrule his human reasoning. Character and submission to God’s will have a way of producing that kind of choice. He chose to bless his brothers who had misled their father, maligned his name, and seemingly misdirected his life’s path. Joseph did so by giving God the glory in his stewardship of the matter.

Joseph could have easily reconciled any decision to retaliate on his brothers. However, he did not. Joseph rose above life’s injustices. His compassion transcended his sibling’s mistreatment of him. His character buoyed him in a sea of false accusations.

Joseph had his brothers escorted to his house. Surely, the brothers feared that the events of the past had returned to haunt them. The images of lies to their father, the mistreatment of their brother, and the betrayal of family for money all must have run through the cinema of their minds.

Joseph’s house steward allayed their fears with a statement that represents divine providence, protection, provision, and promise. The steward told the men, “God gave you treasures in your sacks.” He explained Joseph’s ruse. Their hearts were comforted and shortly Joseph’s identity was revealed. 

The steward of Joseph makes a wonderful point worth noting. He told them their bill for the food they received was paid. There was more than food in the sacks they carried. In their sacks were both earthly and eternal treasures. The steward identified it was God –– their God and their Father’s God –– who placed those treasures in their sacks. Truly the steward’s statement is a statement of God’s gift, goodness, and grace to unworthy travelers. 

God puts treasures in our sack. Our sacks contain treasures that represent God’s gifts, goodness, and grace to us. You’re right; we don’t deserve such treasures! But our Savior loves us unconditionally. What great treasure!

I encourage you to look through your sack and rejoice in the treasures He’s left for you. Perhaps it will be the treasure of His Word; maybe it will be the treasure of his presence or miraculous provision you’ll discover. No matter the discovery, just enjoy and embrace His treasures for you today.

What? You say you have no treasures today? You say you only have sacks of burdens? I say you know not of which you speak! Your burden is laden with treasures. Look again I say! Look again and discover His treasure in your sack.

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I Left This Out

Judges 3:1 Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan;

Have you ever left something in a place for a purpose? In our home, I am the one who likes to leave things out so they can be easily spotted, retrieved or simply to remind me that something needs to be done. Yet there is someone else in our home that is committed to putting things away. (Whether I am through with them or not!) I always have a reason I have left something out. That “other someone,” who has a reason to put things away, often ignores my reasons for leaving it out in the open.

In our today’s verse, God has left something “out” in the open for a reason. The children of Israel needed proving. So God left enemies in the land (3:1) to prove Israel. He wanted Israel to know how to battle because many had not known the battling from the previous generation. {It is interesting to note that not only had the children of Israel not known the Lord, (2:10) they also did not know how to battle.} 

God left some enemies in the land to help them to know the blessing of battling. Have you been complaining about the battles you have had to fight? Are the struggles you’re facing all your children ever hear about? Stand up! The battles you are facing are not for you alone. Teach your children the warfare of the Christian. Determine in your heart that your children will know the ways of warfare of God’s people.

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A Faith Keeper

Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

 “Save this for me,” the little niece said to her uncle as she handed him the teacup.

 “How long do I need to keep this?” he asked coyly. 

She said, “Until it’s over.” 

So the uncle held the teacup until the niece returned. Upon her arrival, she asked, as only a five-year-old girl could inquire, “Do you still have it? Is it the same as it was when I left it? Did you let anyone touch it? Did you let anything happen to it?”

As the niece handed the cup to the uncle, so the people of God have been handed a cup of truth. It is a cup that must be preserved and passed on to the next generation. It is to be handed to those who follow as it was handed to us. 

The saints in the tribulation will be noted for their faith keeping. Jude wrote that we must contend for the faith. Faith Keepers must make their stand and keep that which has been entrusted to them. As the niece asked the uncle, I ask you the same about the faith. “Do you still have it? Is it the same as it was when I left it? Did you let anyone touch it? Did you let anything happen to it?”

Be a faith keeper.

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A Perceived Testimony

1 Samuel 9:6 And he said unto him, Behold, now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can show us our way that we should go.

Jim Bakker. Jimmy Swaggert. Robert Tilton. These are men who once claimed to be amongst the ranks of men of God who are now held in disdain for their illicit actions. Sad, isn’t it? It would be easy to write off these men and say, “Well, they are Charismatics; their bad doctrine bred bad morals.” 

Yet amongst the ranks of fundamentalism, we have our own hall of shame. Though lesser known on the national scale, regionally we hang our hearts and heads when hearing of their moral disintegrations. These are men who left their marriages and ministries in pursuit of money, mistresses, or mysteries. These are men who proved to be Servants of Self, instead of Servants of the Savior. Though the trend seems to be amplified in our day, we must recall that there are men who are not of this way! There are still men who are of Godly rank and reputation. 

A young Saul was certain of one thing the day he was searching for his father’s donkeys. He knew that in the city of Zuph he could find a man of God. In his mind, he was confident that if he could find God’s man, he could find the direction he needed. He went to Zuph and found Samuel. 

Notice Saul’s perceived testimony of the man of God. Saul said, “There is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can show us our way that we should go.” Saul was confident when he found God’s man he would find three things.

1. His identification will be heavenly. “There is a man of God”

2. His integrity will be honorable. “He is an honorable man”

3. His instructions will be helpful. “All that he saith cometh surely to pass”

The wise reader would also discover in Saul's simple statement the needed reputation for every preacher today. Oh, how we need to realize that men of God today are in the majority, not the minority. 

You say, “I am not a man of God but I sit under the ministry of God’s man.” I urge you to hold him up! Hold him high before the Lord. Protect him from the subtle attacks of money, would-be-mistresses, and the unexplored mysteries of sin. 

Every man of God I know starts out the ministry to finish not fail. But failures come. Let us help keep the testimony of the men of God as Saul stated it “There is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can show us our way that we should go.”

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Grace in the Wilderness

Jeremiah 31:2 Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.

Wilderness. The very word seems ominous. Stark horizons, barren landscapes, and waterless wells mark this place. The traveler who trods this soil will remember the hopelessness of this habitat. Only cacti bloom here; the birds that fly here are predators. The trees are bereft of vegetation. There are no indicators of life; it is just as its described; it is a wilderness. 

The believer will sometimes find himself in the wilderness. Sometimes it is a wilderness of his own making. Other times it is a wilderness of God’s choosing. Yet wherever the wilderness or however you arrived there, know this: our wildernesses are not without God’s knowledge nor His grace. 

God had Israel, both northern and southern kingdoms, in a place of purification. God wanted a righteous spirit to replace their rebellious spirit. In the previous chapter, God made it clear He would rid them of their wickedness. Yet in the same prophecy, God stated that those who remained, after the purging by the Assyrian’s sword, found grace in the wilderness.

Your way may be in the wilderness at the moment. Lift up your head; redemption is near. There can be grace in your wilderness. You may think that this wilderness has just graves, but know this: this wilderness has grace too.

Whatever your wilderness, grace can be found in it.


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1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.    

You know there is nothing more frustrating than being hindered when you want to move forward. Have you ever had a day when everything you try to do seems like you are walking into a brick wall? You try to avoid the wall by navigating around it and you walk right back into the same wall. It seems as if every attempt to move forward is hindered.    

Yesterday, I had one of those days. I finally realized (after about five stubbed toes and squished noses) that it was time to step away and figure out what was hindering my forward motion. Clearly, the Lord wanted me to learn something from Him.   

After this experience, though unrelated to this verse, I began thinking about the hindrances that come in my walk with the Lord. As a husband of 14 years, I’ve seen a few times when disagreements arose with my wife. (Incidentally, I have learned now, that no matter what the issue, it is MY fault [smile]) Those kind of disagreements, if left unresolved, create a larger problem than the one in his earthly home.   

If a husband leaves these disagreements unresolved, he will run into a brick wall in his communication with God. God is looking out for my wife. He has her best interest in mind. God wants my wife’s husband to learn his wife’s ways, to honor her worth, to remember her status in the family of God. The penalty for not doing this is a brick wall in his prayer life. Oh, that he would learn!!!   



Who do you hate?

Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

This verse seems hard to assimilate. We know the times that Christ instructed us to love each other as believers as well as our neighbors. However, here we have Christ issuing a warning to followers. If you are coming to Christ for service, your love for Him must be so fervent that all others loves will seem as hatred.

However, most people I have spoken to considering God’s call for the ministry have expressed a concern over how others around them may feel if they respond to God’s call. They say, “Well, I would go but my Dad and Mom…” Or “I would go but my Siblings…” Or “I would go but I wanted to do __________ with my life.” 

Your coming for His service is voluntary. However, there is one requirement: you must love Him more than anyone you know, anything you wanted to do, and anywhere you ever wanted to go! Does this describe your love of Christ? Are you amongst those that will claim your desire to serve him and yet will juggle their life’s loves to keep yourself, your friends, and family happy? Are you amongst those that seek to please your spouse as your chief priority only to abandon Christ?

Is your love for Christ so earnest that all other loves can only be valued as hatred? If not, adjust your relationships to people, places, and things so He is your chief love!

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To be Continued…

Hebrews 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.

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"To be continued…" Those words have such a unique meaning for the regular reader of his favorite book series. Just when you get interested in the subject matter, the book ends and is promised to continue in the next release. It is always refreshing when you are able to pick up the next volume in the series and continue right where you left off in the last volume.  

Occasionally, you may pick up the next volume in the series and find it does not pick up exactly where it left off but skips a few major details. Then you find yourself disoriented while you have to read quite a few pages to figure out what is going on in the story. 

Much like the above situation, when we read the book of Christianity written on the pages of some Christian's lives, the chapters on "brotherly love" appear to be missing and it leaves us disoriented. You may know what I mean: you meet a believer and he is supposed to be full of brotherly love and he is not. When he walks away, the phrase, "Brotherly love is not continuing here" comes to your mind.

Our verse today speaks not of a continuation of a book but rather a command for the continuation of brotherly love. Our command is clear: brotherly love must continue. Our loving fellowship with others must leave the believer longing for other Christian fellowship. However, I have met a few believers with whom brotherly love did not continue! It is as if the brotherly love chapters have been removed and brotherly love stopped with them.

The pivotal word in this verse is let. It is been my experience that we seem to be our own obstacle in brotherly love. However, this verse is not merely a good suggestion but rather a command. 

Today, remove all the obstacles preventing brotherly love from continuing with you. Pursue restoring a broken relationship. Seek forgiveness for a wrong done. Build a bridge across a repented offense. By all means, bring your life into subjection to this verse and "Let brotherly love continue."

The Miracle of His Will

Genesis 18:14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

At times, our heart yearns for a specific answer to prayer. We crave the answer it. We want it more than life itself.  We will view our latest impossibility as another difficulty in a series of life’s impossibilities. 

We look at our problem. We see the mountain is too high. We see the hole is too deep. We say the cavern is too wide. So, we do our best to assess the situation. 

We pull out our trusty checklist: What are my resources? Not enough! What are my abilities? Insufficient! What opportunities exist to implement my solution? None.

Have you ever been there? You know the place. It is standing at the precipice of your plans, resources, and abilities to manage this crisis. You see the dilemmas and disasters and conclude it is hopeless. You embrace this literal hopelessness.

God’s children are not strangers to this emotional location. God knows where this place is. He knows where it is because He let us arrived there. He comes to us. He lets us get to the place where we can see that our resources are inadequate. He lets us sense that our responses are insufficient. He permits us to discover that our attempts at fixing it are incomplete. We discover that what we need in this moment is not another plan or power solution. We simply need the miracle of His will. 

The miracle of God’s will is not bound to my planning, power, or potential. Often the miracle of God’s will is juxtaposed to these human attempts to solve life’s impossibilities. The miracle of His will demonstrates He has an outcome that He desires. The miracle of His will demonstrates He can do anything but fail. The miracle of His will shows nothing is too hard for God.

The Egyptians chased Israel to the Red Sea. When Israel ran out of desert and were against the Red Sea, they realized the miracle of God’s will. Israel's miracle was not manufactured by them. Their miracle was manifested by God. 

Joshua needed a bridge over the Jordan river. The miracle of God’s will did not require human involvement to cross that river. The miracle needed the Hand of God. Some could say, "Here is a place for a bridge." Yet bridges are not the only solution. When man needs a bridge, God replies, “You just need the miracle of My will.”

The five thousand needed food. The disciples were questioned on their plan to feed the 5000. Jesus’ question revealed they did not need another plan, program, or purchase. They needed the miracle of His will. (John 6:5-14)

Their resources were ineffective (200 pence and five loaves with two fish)

Their restructuring was incredible (too late in the day to get started)

Their responses were inadequate. (send them away)

When you arrive at your next crisis, look to your Redeemer, not your resources. Ask God to reveal the miracle of His will for you! The miracle of His will supersedes your abilities, actions, and awareness. 

Whatever your crisis today, the miracle of His will is the best solution! 

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When God Needs my Help

Genesis 16:1-3 Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

The very words of the title of today's reading seem silly. He is God. He does not need my help. He does not need my manipulations. He does not need my interference in His plans. 

God gave Sarah a promise. He promised she would have a son. When Sarah saw what she thought was a delay in God's delivery on the promise, she helped God. Sarah suggested a plan that sounded right in her eyes. 

Sarah proposed to Abraham that their maid Hagar could help with God's promise. So, following the cultural model, Hagar became a surrogate for Sarah. Hagar was given a child by God. But this was not how God intended to give Sarah a son. God's plan was better. God's plan is always better. Sarah's plan did not help God. God did not need Sarah's help. God needed Sarah to wait on Him.

We look at this and think how silly Sarah was. Truly, God did not need Sarah’s help. The result of this decision to help God brought forth Ishmael. Our struggles in the Middle East today stem from this decision several thousand years ago.

What surprises me today is that we still do this as a people. When God’s answer seems delayed, we seek to help God. The result of our helping God is the same as Sarah's. We end up with Ishmael problems in our lives, families, and ministries. 

Look at your life today. Do you have Ishmael problems from your attempt to help God? Maybe it’s a purchase you made to help God. Maybe it's a problem that stems from when you helped God. Perhaps it is a person in your life that you brought into a relationship that you knew was wrong. It is likely that you cannot undo your decision; you can only make the decision not to end up here again. 

Remember this, God never needs our help. 

When I help, I get an Ishmael. When He does it, I get an Isaac.  May our prayer be, “God, I will wait on you. I will not try to help you, again.”

Remember His promises are sure. His ways are perfect.

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God is my Reward

Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

Have you noticed as a people we are desirous of rewards? 

Ladies pursue sales at department stores. They seek discounts and marked-down goods. Each purchase becomes their reward for their hunt. 

Men fish and hunt for hours on end. They seek reward for their efforts. These men find reward in their stories and on occasion, to have their catch mounted to hang on a wall.

Children play video games trying to beat “boss” to get to the next level. They look for the reward of bragging to their friends of their accomplishments. They want to beat the game.

How trivial the rewards are that this world offers in comparison to the reward the God offered his friend Abraham. The word of the Lord came to Abraham’s soul.  God said to Abraham, His friend, “I am your “exceeding great reward.”

What a reward! Not only can I have the Creator of the universe be my friend, but also He has given me a reward that exceeds all rewards. He says, “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” 

The message from God to Abraham overshadows searching for bargains in a department store. It exceeds the reward of tromping through fields and streams for the one-that-got-away.

Have life’s tumultuous waves swept over you? Have you begun to feel that the world rewards may provide you the immediate gratification you desire? Raise your head! Square your shoulders! Set your mind on this one eternal truth: God is my exceeding great reward.

Is there anything greater than God being your reward?

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A Very Great Man

2 Samuel 19:32 Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even fourscore years old: and he had provided the king of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim; for he was a very great man.    

 When the names of the OT greats are listed, the list rarely includes Barzillai. He was a helper of King David when faced with adversity from his people, attacks from his family, and days of isolation. Our brother, Barzillai, sets a subtle theme for our devotional consideration today. 

King David, while pursued by Absalom and his men, was forced into running and hiding until God rectified the problem. Barzillai recognized the plight of God’s man and determined when David arrived at Mahanaim, he would not leave God’s man without supplies and encouragement. So Barzillai brought beds, basins, earthen vessels, wheat, barley, flour, parched corn, beans, lentils, and parched pulse to King David while he was on the run. Barzillai knew that God’s man should not be without provisions and encouragement.   

The Holy Spirit told the writer of our devotional verse today to write this: “He was a very great man.” The “church world” has determined that “the great men of the ministry today” are the ones with churches with large attendance, strategic locations, and TV ministries. However, the Holy Spirit once again confounds modern thinking into what really matters. Greatness comes by serving.   

Right now, there is a man of God you know. He daily faces adversity and attacks. He oft times is faced with the loneliness that comes from making the right stand. Every man of God needs a Barzillai to help him. Will you be a Barzillai for the Lord?   

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The Kindness of God

2 Samuel 9:1–3 And David said... Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him?

Friendship. It is a word that soothes the soul and stirs the heart. It is a word evokes memories that are dear. It is a word that elicits emotions that run deep. It is the one word that offers unconditional acceptance, uncompromising affirmation, and affection.

Friendship was a word David knew. The word was personified in Jonathan, the son of the former king and his arch nemesis, Saul. While other monarchs sought to eliminate the family of the former royalty, it was not so with David. David loved Jonathan. David’s motivation was pure. He wanted to extend kindness to any of the family of Saul. David’s seeking Saul’s family was intended to be an act of mercy, not malice. 

David asked of his servants if there any left of Saul’s house to whom he could show kindness. Of the many word meanings of shew, one synonym stands out. It is the word accomplish. David wanted to accomplish kindness in memory of his friend, Jonathan. 

The average Bible reader knows this story well. It is the story of Mephibosheth. It is a story replete with divine nuances and types. The story is illustrative of God’s love, grace, and adoption in the course of His redemptive path and plan for mankind. 

Yet what captures my heart is not the primary nor secondary meanings in this passage. Rather, it is a simple statement in verse three.  “And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him?”

David resolved in his heart that he would show the kindness of God to someone of the house of Saul. Yes, I know, the house of Saul. His mind could have been a file cabinet filled with folders of bitterness, bruises, blisters, and bad memories. Yet his heart was a vessel of compassion looking for another vessel into whom he could pour himself in the memory of his friendship with Jonathan. David saw himself as an agent of kindness working for God. He could have sought out someone who would have easily been on anyone’s enemy list, but he didn’t. Instead, in memory of his friend and in devotion to his God, he sought to show divine kindness to anyone of Saul’s house. David saw himself as God’s agent of kindness. 

Is there someone around you who needs to see the kindness of God today? Someone who needs you, on God’s behalf, to go the extra mile, invest no matter the cost, and sacrifice what’s dear, just to display the kindness of God?

The verse is clear. David showed God’s kindness that day. Will you show God’s kindness this day?

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Making a Choice

1 Samuel 23:26-28    And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them. But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land. Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Selahammahlekoth.

Saul was an angry leader. He struggled with pride and stubbornness. These two sins made him “play the fool” in his kingly ministry. Saul hunted David like a dog would hunt for its desired object. He wanted David eliminated. Saul believed David was his greatest threat. However, David was not Saul’s greatest threat. Saul was his own greatest threat. Saul had become so consumed with his pursuit of pride and jealousy. He had abandoned his responsibility of the ministry to do other things. 

This is what is occurring in our text. David is in hiding. Saul is on one side of the mountain and David is on the other. Saul believes he is ready to capture David again. God intervenes and makes Saul face his real priority with the message of the messenger. “The Philistines have invaded the land.” However, Saul is so consumed with his stubbornness and pride that he actually struggles with the right action to take: do I try again to capture David? Or do I defend against the invasion of the Philistines? Saul’s heart was divided to go hither and thither; so the place was named Selahammahlekoth. (pronounced See-La-ha-ma’-le-koth)

God still sends us to places like Selahammahlekoth when we stray from His purpose. He will force us to choose. Our choice is the same: do we follow the “Pursuits of Pride?” Or do we get back to “Dealing with the enemy?” 

Why do we become so consumed with our selfish pursuits that we actually abandon our priority? The answer is clear we are driven away by the lust of the flesh. The lust of the flesh is a powerful force. It will drive us from our priority in ministry to do what we want. The lust of the flesh reveals our pride and stubbornness.

Are you fulfilling what God would call his priority for you? Has God sent a Selahammahlekoth to you to make you stop and reconsider? Please do not struggle; go home and deal with the invading enemy. The pursuit you are in may be your own pursuit and not His. You may have tried convincing your immediate circle of friends that what you are doing is ministry, but you know better. Linger not a moment longer; get back to His priority. 

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1 Sam 16:6-7   And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Have you ever considered that sometimes our evaluations of people are extremely superficial, prejudicial, and unfair? You know the routine. A family walks into church. They are wearing nice clothes. The children are well dressed. They pulled into the parking lot in a nice car. Instantly you make up your mind. These people are well off. You walk up to them putting on your best airs about you to make an impression. You are thinking, “These are quality people; we need to keep them.”

Why? Why would we do this? Why would we look exclusively at all the externals and change our behavior? We must realize that, yes, they may have their externals in order, but that must not be the single determining factor in our treatment and expectations of people.

Consider Samuel. In his search for the new man to be anointed king, the first man he encountered, he sized him up solely on the externals. “Oh, look at this one. He is tall. He carries himself so well. Look at the way he handles himself!” Yes, all extremely superficial, prejudicial and unfair. Verse 7 to me is like God snapping His fingers at Samuel and saying, “Don’t get swept up by the externals of people.” 

We too do this today. We accept and reject people based solely on their externals. Why not go back to accepting and rejecting people the way God would. He determines the quality and sincerity of person by his heart.

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Finishing the Assignment

1 Samuel 15:3, 9, 15 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.  Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all  that was  good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing  that was  vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly. And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD

Have you ever told a child exactly what you wanted him to do? You spell out for him the details of the assignment. You have him repeat back what you want him to do. You may even write it down for him to check off when it is completed. 

However, when you return, you discover that it was not done as you had required. Have you ever experienced this shock?

The child given the assignment then begins to offer creative reasons for his not completing it the way you instructed. You stand in utter amazement as you hear the weak and lame excuses for the rebellion or laziness. You wonder what happened between your command and his attempt to complete the command.  

Samuel gave Saul a “Things to do” list from God. It was clear. Destroy the enemy and his possessions. “Spare them not” was His direct command. However, when God sent His man to check on the progress of His “Things to do” list, he found that part of the command was followed but not all of it. Saul proudly proclaimed his interpretation of the command. He even stated he had done what God said and in his heart, he believed he had improved upon it. This was not acceptable to God. Saul paid dearly for his error in not following God’s command.  

However, before we jump on the “Anti-Saul” bandwagon, consider this. We have been commanded to evangelize the world, yet look at our interpretations of it in missions today. We have been commanded to preach the Word, yet look at our modern interpretations of it in our preaching today. We have been commanded to live holily and righteously, yet look at our standards and convictions in dress and disposition.   

Our day of reckoning is coming. We will face God and give account for how we fulfilled His commands. How are you coming on His “Things to do” list?  

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