Day 110: Where To Find Strength (1 Samuel 30-31; Luke 17:20-37)

“Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” – 1 Samuel 30:6

This chapter in the lives of the Israelites is filled with so much anguish. While David was out at war, someone came into the city of David, burned it down, and took their sons, wives and daughters captive. David’s two wives were also taken.

Can you even imagine the scene? Standing amongst the rubble and ashes, with no life in sight. The wailing of grown men fills the air, mixing in with the smell of fire and the eerie silence of an abandoned city. These men of war – worn out and exhausted – were expecting to be greeted by their wives and children, and instead destruction met them at the city gates.  Everything and everyone they loved, was gone.

I’m sure these men, including David, were filled with righteous anger. Once the tears dried and the wailing stopped, they must have stomped and yelled for revenge. They could have easily stepped back into marching formation, armed with weapons and anger, and went in search of revenge.

But not David. Not the man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14). No, this man strengthened himself in his God. I imagined that David retreated to his tent, fell on his knees and spoke the words that weave through all his psalms:

The Lord is my strength and my shield. -Psalm 28:7

Once he was strengthened in the Lord, he called the priest and inquired of the Lord: “Should I go after my loved ones or should I stay?” And the Lord said, go. So, David and his 600 men went after the enemy and rescued all of their people.

How do you react when something goes wrong in your life?

I pray that you’ll take a page from David’s playbook and strengthen yourself in the Lord. Go to Him for comfort and advice on everything. Even if it’s something as small as a stressful day when nothing seems to go right. On that day, go to a quiet corner, open your Bible and strengthen yourself in His word. Next, open your heart and pray about what to do. Then, see how the Lord transforms your situation into something with a happy ending.

Advertisements

Day 109: The Work You’ve Been Called To Do(1 Samuel 27-29; Luke 17:1-19)

“So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.” -Luke 17:10

At first read, this passage about duty sounds almost rude. As humans, we like recognition. When we do something nice for someone or achieve an accomplishment, it feels good to be acknowledged for our efforts.

Then Jesus comes along and essentially says: “Kudos! You did the job you were assigned to do. Now, there is more work to do.”

Which can rub a lot of people the wrong way. Not even a thank you?! Job well done?

But y’all, we were not created to raise our own profiles but to glorify our God on this earth. To do so, we are called to good works and discipleship. That is our calling. It is a job that must be done with humility. We accept our commands from above and obey. We don’t get a gold star in return or our names written in lights. We don’t do it for fame or money. We do it because it is who we are – daughters of the one true King.

So, today, may this be your encouragement: whatever task God has asked you to do, do it well and with all your heart. Even if its mundane. Even if no one notices or compliments you on a job well done. God knows. And the reward He gives is eternal.

Day 108: Abigail (1 Samuel 25-26; Luke 16:19-31)

“The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife was Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings…Now when Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground. So she fell at his feet and said: ‘On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be! And please let your maidservant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your maidservant…’” -1 Samuel 25:3,23-24

“Then David said to Abigail: ‘Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! And blessed is your advice and blessed are you, because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand. For indeed, as the Lord God of Israel lives, who has kept me back from hurting you, unless you have had hurried and come to meet me, surely by morning light no males would have been left to Nabal!’ So David received from her hand what she had brought him, and said to her, ‘Go up in peace to your house. See, I have heeded your voice and respected your person.’” -1 Samuel 25: 32-35

Before we start, I urge you to read this entire chapter (1 Samuel 25) to get the full story of what’s happening here. But to summarize and fill in the blanks, here is a quick summary: This woman named Abigail was married to a no-good man. One day, David was passing by and asked the man to give him and his men some food because David had helped guard some of the man’s livestock. The man refused. Angry, David vowed to kill his entire family and household. Word of this got back to Abigail and she immediately sought to resolve the problem. She gathered up food, gifts, servants and headed after David’s caravan. And then she used her words and gifts to save her entire household – including her mean-spirited husband. (Spoiler alert: David ended up marrying her later on!)

When Abigail found out what her husband had done, she could have reacted in a dozen of different ways. She could have picked an argument with him: yelling and throwing things as she cast blame. She could have packed her things up and ran away to save her own life. Or she could have done nothing and awaited her fate. But, instead, she chose the courageous path and decided to mend the bridge her husband had just burnt in order to save herself AND her household. She relied on humility to appeal to David’s good side. She acted quickly and authoritatively.

Bad stuff happens  to all of us. Loved ones die too quickly and people mess up  often. Some of us may end up getting married to men who are lazy, mean-spirited or abusive. But it is how we react that speaks to the depth of our character. We could let our circumstances make us bitter. We could withdraw from reality and hide behind entertainment or destructive habits. We could play victim. Or we could remember that we are the daughters of the King of Kings. We could draw on our God-given intelligence and wisdom to react quickly and efficiently. We could be the problem-solvers full of grace and humility.

I’ll leave you with the words of Lottie Beth Hobbs in her book Daughters of Eve: “[Abigail} was of ‘good understanding’; that is, she had wisdom, common sense, and the ability to size up a situation and decide the proper course of cation. Blessed with both beauty and brains, Abigail also had a deep and abiding faith in God. What more could any woman ask? She had wealth, beauty, intelligence and godliness. She had everything – except a decent husband. She was married to a churlish, selfish, insulting drunkard who lacked even the common traits of courtesy and civility. In the midst of unpleasant and uncontrollable circumstances, she maintained a sweet and lovable disposition. Her words to David clearly indicate that a sweet and lovable disposition. Her words to David clearly indicate that she had not allowed her own disappointments to make her cynical, bitter, or harsh. Rather, she held an unwavering faith in God and the principles of right and justice.”

Day 107: You Are Who You Attract (1 Samuel 22-24; Luke 16:1-18)

“And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to [David]. So he became captain over them. And there were about 400 men with him.” -1 Samuel 22:2

In his season of hiding in the wilderness and being on the run from King Saul, David began to attract people like himself: those who were not welcome in polite society, the outcasts, the rejects, and the loners. When someone new joined their community, David’s words were such:

“Stay with me; do not fear. For he who seeks my life seeks your life, but with me you shall be safe.” -1 Samuel 22:23

It seems that from the beginning, leadership was embedded in David’s character. He was courageous, yet humble. Rejected, yet respected. David could have easily escaped to some cave and sulked until King Saul gave up his vendetta against him. But instead, David kept inquiring of the Lord what to do next – do I fight? do I go? do I stay? (1 Samuel 2:2). The people around him saw God’s presence in David’s life and they flocked to him for guidance and safety.

Have you ever known a person who made you feel safe? Maybe it was your parents or grandparents. Maybe it was a teacher or a childhood friend. But today, I want to challenge you to become the harbor of safety and peace to others. Become the person in whom others see God. Make people feel loved and secure in your presence. Don’t betray a friend’s confidences in the name of venting or concern. 

What can you do today to become a safe harbor for someone else? 

What kind of people do you attract to be in your company? 

 

Day 106: The Prodigal Son (1 Samuel 19-21, Luke 15:11-32)

Have you ever made a mistake for which you thought you could never be forgiven? In your head, your mistake seems so big and bad; how could anyone, let alone God, forgive you for what you’ve done?

I’ve definitely made my fair share of mistakes and I’ve always been able to walk through those mistakes with my faith intact. But it’s not the memories of my past mistakes that help me when things get difficult, it’s always the Word of God, particularly the parable of the Prodigal Son that helps me to remember that I am forgiven and saved by grace. In this parable, the son asks for his inheritance early and squanders it. When he returns to his father, he is ashamed of the mistakes he made, but his father rejoices and welcomes the son home.

So, remember, if you make a mistake, you are a daughter of the King and you are always welcome back to your Father’s house. You are never too far gone or too sinful. You are always worth saving – worth a second chance. God doesn’t give up easily, especially when it comes to saving your soul.

Day 105: Five Smooth Stones (1 Samuel 17-18; Luke 15:1-10)

The story of how David killed Goliath has been taught to us through preaching, in Bible study classes and reenacted on T.V., but I would like to ask you to follow along with me on how I picture this scene. Just imagine….Goliath is out in this huge field, pacing back and forth, boldly throwing fierce threats. Everyone is standing around intimidated and afraid, including Saul. All of a sudden here comes a boy saying, “I’ll go fight him!” (1 King 17:32). Saul speaks with David, doubting his ability to defeat Goliath, but David reminds him:

“The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” -1 King 17:37 (NLT)

David’s faith and his bravery showed that day. That is where God stepped in. The unique part of his story is that David was armed with five smooth stones, a staff, and a sling.

He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine. -1 King 17:40 (NLT)

So the story ends with David killing Goliath, but there is really one very important thing we can see from this story. No matter what challenges we face, all we have to do is step out in our faith in God and He will arm us for battle, even if it’s five smooth stones, a staff and a sling to lead us to victory!

Day 104: Reflections (1 Samuel 15-16; Luke 14:25-35)

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Junior high is such a tender age. Bodies and emotions change at a surprising rate and our little hearts have so much trouble keeping up. My hair went from straight and sleek to frizzy and curly overnight and I was at a complete loss with what to do with it. I remember throwing my hairbrush at my mirror and crying in frustration. I did not like how I looked and I had no idea how to fix it.

That is when I came across this verse about how God does not look at the outward appearance, but at the heart. This verse gave me so much comfort and I remember carefully copying it onto a piece of paper to put on my mirror so that each time I looked at my reflection, I would be reminded that God sees my heart first. Do I have kindness and grace for those around me? Am I responding with love instead of anger?

Just like God saw David’s heart above his stature, God is looking at our hearts to see if our inward beauty is just as stunning as our outward beauty. The next time you look at your physical refection, take a moment to reflect on your heart and the God who knows it.

How do you remind yourself to focus on your inward beauty?

What do you do to encourage yourself on days when you don’t feel beautiful?