WEEK 18, Day 6, Saturday, 5 May 2018

DBRP- WEEK 18, Day 7, Sunday, 6 May 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 5 May 18:

1. 1 Samuel 11:6 — “And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul.” The world is full of leaders but very few Spirit-led leaders.

2. 1 Samuel 11:6 – “…and his anger was greatly kindled.” Not all anger is bad. There is a righteous anger that stands against evil for God’s glory and for the sake of others. Righteous anger is never motivated by selfishness or self-preservation. Righteous anger is not absent of love but rather inspired by love, love for God and love for others. Similarly, though we are accustomed to self-centered jealousy, there is a righteous jealousy that defends those we love from things we know will only lure them away from the path of love. Key to handling your emotions well is to understand the true source of the emotion or the “heart” behind to emotion. Is it truly selfless or selfish?

3. 1 Samuel 11:12-13 — “‘Who is it that said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death.’ But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the LORD has worked salvation in Israel.’” Saul began his reign showing mercy and grace and leading with a heart of reconciliation. He did not seek revenge or use the power plays most political leaders used. He sought to bring unity. Unfortunately, his heart will change over time. As you continue to read, see if you can identify what causes Saul’s downfall after such a great start. The Bible has something to teach us all from the life of Saul.

4. 1 Samuel 12:3, 4 — “Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you. They said, ‘You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.’” Samuel lived a blameless life with no debts and no secrets, always willing to confess his sins publicly and always willing to make full restitution. This is the sort of person God uses mightily. Samuel understood that the way he lived his life before others affected his ability to perform his primary mission as God’s messenger. Samuel lived with such integrity, that he could confidently stand before everyone and challenge them to name a wrong he had committed. He also adhered to God’s command to make restitution to anyone you have wronged (see Exodus 22, Leviticus 5, Numbers 5). The principle of restitution is something that has largely been forgotten in the modern church, but Proverbs 14:9 says only “fools mock at making restitution.” To whom do you need to make restitution today?

– Of the two attributes of leadership, character and competence, character is of primary importance. Yet the world honors competence over character to its detriment. Originally, the people wanted a king who possessed the competencies they felt necessary to compete with the kings of their enemies. At first, they rejected Saul as king because he appeared unconfident and weak. However, after his victory in battle the people were quite anxious to accept Saul as king because he had proven himself competent. However, Samuel emphasized from the beginning that it would be the character of the king that would make or break the nation. Therefore, as Samuel surrendered the primary leadership role to the new king, he asked: “Where have I done wrong?” Where have I not proven myself to be honorable and faithful?” There is a reason why the motto of the Marine Corps (an organization that prides itself on competence) is Semper Fidelis – Always Faithful, rather than always skilled. Character is primary.

5. 1 Samuel 12:14 — “If you will fear the LORD and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God, it will be well.” Following a human leader is only helpful if that leader is following Jesus. Better to follow Jesus than any human. Many ask whether a politician believes in the Bible or not. What matters is whether or not they are wholehearted disciples of Jesus. If not, they will lead people astray with a different ‘gospel’, a man-made path to ‘salvation’ that eventually leads only to destruction.

6. 1 Samuel 12:20 — “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart.” Don’t worry about your past mistakes. Obey today!

7. 1 Samuel 12:21 — “And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty.” Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

8. 1 Samuel 12:23 — “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.” Samuel prayed for sinful people and also instructed them – he prioritized prayer first. Many are ready to instruct, but few are willing to pray. When we instruct, we are tempted to think that our abilities will make the difference. Prayer acknowledges that it is the Spirit that must affect the change.

9. 1 Samuel 12:24 — “Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” When you truly appreciate Jesus, you have a heart to follow Him regardless of circumstances. Serve God wholeheartedly today, one thought, one word, one decision at a time. At the end of each hour, take a moment to consider how you did through that hour, and note your trends. Each hour, take a moment to listen to your Coach, the Holy Spirit. Pray for God’s strength to grow you in faithfulness.

10. Proverbs 5:1-6 — Wisdom enables discretion which gives us the self-control to resist the temptation for instant gratification now in order to preserve our greatest possible future. Wisdom is never short-sighted but rather can see the long-term implications of even the smallest decisions.

11. Proverbs 5:11, 12 – “…and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, ‘How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof!’” You will either suffer the pain of discipline (self-control) now, or the pain of regret later.

12. Proverbs 5:22, 23 – “The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.” Sin, is a dangerous, deadly trap that exploits a person’s lack of self-control. The Way of life is Jesus and following Him. Disciples are those who truly follow Him and obey Him. The life of a disciple is, by definition, a disciplined life, a life of wholehearted obedience. Joy is found in obedience. The Christian you uses “grace” as an excuse for half-hearted obedience (or disobedience) is demonstrating an incredible lack of understanding and is dishonoring our Holy LORD. The more we truly appreciate our LORD, the more natural obedience becomes.

13. Psalm 52:1-5 — “The steadfast love of God endures all the day…. But God will break you down forever.” God who IS Love cannot tolerate sin because of His love. We can only see the tip of the iceberg of the pain and destruction our sins cause, but God understands the full ramifications of our sins which are far beyond our comprehension. God who IS Love HATES sin because He loves His children perfectly. Those who “love evil more than good” (Psalm 52:3) make themselves enemies of God, though they don’t see it that way.

– James 4:4 — You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

14. Psalm 52:7 — “See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!” Those who seek security in anything other than Jesus will face destruction. Man’s efforts apart from God are futile.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 5 May: If you have not done so already, make a list of your family, church members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers for whom you should pray. Pray for them by name today — “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you (1 Samuel 12:23).” Also, make every effort to settle your debts today. If you have offended someone, seek forgiveness from them today and reconcile. Return what you have borrowed, repay what you have taken, and as much as possible, fix what you have broken. “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.” (Romans 13:8) You may not be able to do it all today, but at least make the commitment and take the first steps.

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