1 Samuel 30:1-20 – Worst Nightmare

Read 1 Samuel 30:1-20

A closeup of a pile of ash and burnt up wood

David and his men faced their worst nightmare when they arrived home and found a burned-out village and that their wives and children were gone. Thankfully, they didn’t come home to dead bodies, too. There was hope they were alive.

David’s men were furious and blamed David for this misfortune. It was time for David to turn to God rather than try and take matters into his own hands. He called for the ephod from the priest so he could be sure the word was truly from God. And God said, “Go!”

Continue reading “1 Samuel 30:1-20 – Worst Nightmare”

1 Peter 2:1-11 – Living Stones

Read 1 Peter 2:1-11

We are living stones. That is an image not on my radar. I may be living and breathing, seeing and smelling– but as a stone? Not so much. But when you play out the metaphor here, with Jesus being the cornerstone, I’m thrilled to be a living stone.

We’ve all seen buildings with a prominent cornerstone. It will often have the year engraved.  Wikipedia defines “cornerstone” (or foundation stone or setting stone) to be “the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.” Now think about how this impacts us when we think of Jesus as the chief cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:19-22). Continue reading “1 Peter 2:1-11 – Living Stones”

1 Peter 1:3-7 – Wonderful Joy, Precious Faith

Read 1 Peter 1:3-7

What do you feel when you imagine living forever with God? Overwhelming joy should flood your heart. It all started with what God did for you. Just thinking of that amazing gift should be a reason for expectant elation! We have a special place in eternity waiting for us! Our inheritance is priceless. We cannot buy our way into heaven. Jesus is the one who paid the price for us.

This passage is helpful as we all have trials and struggles. We are never promised a life on earth without trials. In fact, it is how we respond to trials that sets us apart. Do we let them get us down? Do we look for the lesson? I try to stay positive and never let negative things get me down. I am not always successful, but that is my intent. I try to help others keep a positive attitude, but it isn’t always easy. Sometimes it is impossible, and I only make the situation worse. Continue reading “1 Peter 1:3-7 – Wonderful Joy, Precious Faith”

James 1 :1-18 – Temptation

Read James 1:1-18

This passage is so much more than temptation, but I thought we could focus a bit on that today.

What tempts you? If you’re on a diet, maybe a juicy hamburger and fries is your hot button. If you’re trying to cut down on sweets, maybe it’s a piece of dark chocolate cake. Non-food temptations may be laziness or the opposite, over-working. Evil temptations are deeper than these examples, yet the motivations are similar.

When evil steps in to  put a desire on our heart, it is generally not a helpful thing. But evil, being evil, will make it seem enticing. We are then quick to justify and let the temptation overtake us.

This passage is clear. Temptations are not from God. He cannot be tempted, nor does he tempt. It is all in our heads! It starts with an evil desire and blossoms from there.

Can you think of examples from your life where you were enticed to do the wrong thing? Maybe it was telling a “white lie” to make a situation sound better. Maybe it was looking on your neighbor’s paper during a math quiz. Maybe it was driving over the speed limit because you were in a hurry.

Zing! That last one got me!

There is another passage that really helps put this into perspective. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 

God is faithful. Evil is not. Evil will deceive us and fail us. God will never fail us. He provides us a way out when we are tempted. The promise is here for us. The passage doesn’t say God will not allow any “trial” beyond what we can stand as many people often interpret. So be careful in that regard.

Today’s reading also talks of trials, but the promise is different. If we are to withstand our trials and persevere, then we will receive the crown of life. Our final reward is with our Father, forever. If that doesn’t bring us joy, I don’t know what can. So to be clear, we’re not to be joyful for the trial, but to consider it pure joy when a trial comes knowing you will grow stronger from it.

In either case, trials or temptations, it is important for us to remember that “Every good and perfect gift is from above…” God wants the best for us. He created us for his own delight, and we are his. Find your joy!

Let’s pray. Heavenly father I thank you for the life you have given me. Forgive me for when I let temptations take hold of me. I know you have given me the way out. I need to do a better job of looking for that provision. I thank you, too, for how I am growing in perseverance as we walk through the challenges and trial of life together. Knowing I am not alone is such a comfort and brings me joy. May the joy I feel overflow to others around me. Use me this day, and may I walk in your perfect will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.