King Saul was told to destroy the Amalekites; he was given a command from the Lord. He disobeyed that command and God said, “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the LORD all that night (1 Samuel 15:11-12 NIV).
Samuel was greatly disturbed when the Israelites wanted to have a king over them instead of recognizing God as their King. He was upset again when the anointed king would not follow the command of the Lord. He mourned. He went to Ramah and continued to grieve. God asked Samuel how long he would mourn—because there was still more to be done. God was to have him anoint a new king, King David.
There are moments in life when we get stuck in a hole, whether it be the sinking sand of failure or frustration or mourning or comfort (yes comfort), we don’t want to move. We embrace where we are at when God wants us to move forward. God told Samuel to fill up his horn—to get prepared and press onward and accomplish the task at hand. There’s more to be done my friend. Let us keep on keeping on.
“The LORD said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.’” 1 Samuel 16:1 [NIV]
Valentine’s Day is not a day single people usually like to observe. When you don’t have a Valentine, the day seems pointless—or even like a slap in the face. Valentine’s Day can be a day people feel even more alone because they hear about all of the flowers, candies, and fancy dinners enjoyed by friends and acquaintances.
For me, Valentine’s Day was just another day. I went to work and was at a vantage point where I saw what people were buying their Valentine for later that evening. So many people poured into the store seeking out flowers and candy. Roses. Chocolates. Hours passed. Then someone came up to me with a single carnation. We didn’t sell single carnations. The lady handed me the carnation, smiled and said, “Everyone needs a Valentine.”
I looked down at the slip of paper attached to the flower. It was a church outreach with John 3:16 written along with their church information. I smiled and placed the flower to the side. You see, some people might consider themselves alone on Valentine’s Day, or any day for that matter, but you always have a Valentine. For God so loves you. You are never alone. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not on Valentine’s Day. You are loved.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [NIV]
Every morning as I get ready for work I find myself brushing my teeth and glancing in the mirror. The mirror reflects what I look like at that moment. It is the truth. It is real. There is no façade, no clouded view, no distortion. But when I leave the bathroom and can no longer see that mirror image, the mirror is useless to me. It means nothing. My appearance will change throughout the day. Hair will stick up. I might get a scratch from my dogs. One never knows. But the mirror image is useless.
In James we read about self-deception. People hear the word of God and it goes in one ear and then out the other. The Bible says that it’s like someone who looks in the mirror and walks away and doesn’t remember what they look like. What the passage is referencing is how the mirror is useless when we walk away. It means nothing. When people hear the Word of God and walk away without acting upon it, it’s like that useless mirror. It is useless. They are deceived. The word is irrelevant in their opinion and ignored.
James spent the time speaking about self-deception because it is something we all fall prey to if we just take the Word of God and nibble on it but do nothing else. It gets us nowhere. It’s like pushing the gas pedal on a car that has a dead battery. There is no action. When you truly hear the Word of God, you act. You embrace. You love. You live the Truth.
“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.” – James 1:22-24 [MSG]
Did you ever hear about Lady Wisdom and Sir Fool? “Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home; Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick” (MSG). How does one build a lovely home? How does a woman build a great household? Only with a strong foundation. A Strong Foundation.
We have the opportunity to build our life on the Rock or to build our life on something else. If we build upon the Rock, the storms can rage around us but the house will stand. If we build upon the Rock, it doesn’t matter what comes blowing on by because the house will not be moved. If we build on the sand, if we build our life as Sir Fool, we place our lives on the foundation of something other than Jesus. When the cookies crumble, oh how they crumble. A small breeze will knock us down. A storm will come and the house will fall, and it will be a great fall.
Folly hands are not hands that I wish to have anymore. I remember days when those were my hands. I remember when I tried to control everything. I remember when my foundation was myself. I remember when my foundation was money. I remember when my foundation was pleasure. I remember when my foundation was lies. Folly tears down brick by brick. Praise the Lord, He builds us up strong in Him. By His Truth and through His grace and because of His love, we can embrace Him and build on His Solid Foundation. Nothing will shake us. Nothing will break us. Nothing will snatch us from His hands.
“The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” – Proverbs 14:1 [ESV]
Trust is a difficult subject. Earning a person’s trust takes time and even then it can be lost in the blink of an eye. The Psalmist wrote, “Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.” The Message translation states, “When I left the womb you cradled me; since the moment of birth you’ve been my God.
The Psalmist speaks of trust, of a trust that comes from early on. From his early days, the Psalmist remembers his days cradled by the Lord. The trust he had for God led to hope and expectation. The trust he had for God made him secure. God was His hope, his security—his everything.
As you look back on your life, you will find reminders of God’s embrace. He cradled you time and time again. Maybe you haven’t been a Christian for a long time or maybe you have professed the name of Jesus for decades. No matter the time you have declared Him as your God, you have been cradled and loved. Today remember that the God you trusted to get you through everything in the past is the same God that is with you through each step today. You are not alone. He is still your hope and your security. Trust Him.
“Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.” – Psalm 22:9 [ESV]
In Proverbs 20:24 we read, “The very steps we take come from God; otherwise how would we know where we’re going?” (MSG). The Lord directs our steps. We are not going to understand everything along the way. But still we are to walk in faith.
I have planned many plans. I thought they were the best possible plans for me. They looked good. They sounded good. But after I followed those plans, I stumbled, failed, or simply didn’t get the outcome I expected. It didn’t make any sense. God’s plans are now the plans I follow, but still the plans don’t make sense. How can man understand his way? I often wonder what is going to happen next because I only see with limited sight while God has the big picture.
There were many occasions when I walked in faith and expected a particular outcome, but got something so very different than I could have imagined. Remember, His thoughts are not like our thoughts. Our God is a God of the impossible. We often limit God by coming up with our miniscule plans. We think they are grand plans, but if we could see His plans, we would laugh at our little ideas. Today I challenge you to seek God as you envision what He has for your life. Walk forward taking the steps he directs. Praise Him along the way and don’t forget to tell people when you have a “Boom” moment. What’s that? That’s when you finally reach the end of a season and you see what He has done. Boom. So much more than I imagined. Boom. Wow, that’s incredible! Boom. Get blown away by God. Don’t limit Him. Fly with Him. Soar high my friends.
“A man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?” – Proverbs 20:24 [ESV]