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February 22, 2019

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February 22, 2019

2 Samuel 1

To read this text, go to: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Samuel+1&version=NLT

 

Scripture:  2 Samuel 1:11-12, David and his men tore their clothes in sorrow when they heard the news. They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the Lord’s army and the nation of Israel, because they had died by the sword that day.

 

Observation:  When David heard of Saul’s death, he mourned and wrote a funeral song. We can understand this sadness over Jonathan, but Saul?  Considering all Saul put David through, we might have expected celebration or relief at the death of his rival, not mourning.  After all, it was out of pure jealousy, hate, and spite that Saul took away David’s family, home, career, and security, and Saul was totally unrepentant to the very end.  Yet, David mourned, wept, and fasted when he learned of Saul’s death.

 

Application:  This text is a powerful illustration of how unforgiveness, bitterness, and anger are chosen, not imposed on us.  David had every right to harden his heart and become bitter, but he doesn’t.  He allows God to continue to shape and form him.  What situation in your life might be similar?  Are there feelings of anger and bitterness that you have allowed to have a stronghold in your own heart?  How might God help you let go of those feelings today?

 

Prayer:  The Peace Prayer by St. Francis,

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

 

Blessings,

Rev. Vicki

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December 21, 2018

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December 21, 2018

Judges 15

 

To read this text, go to: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges+15&version=NLT

 

Scripture: Judges 15:14-15, As Samson arrived at Lehi, the Philistines came shouting in triumph. But the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon Samson, and he snapped the ropes on his arms as if they were burnt strands of flax, and they fell from his wrists. Then he found the jawbone of a recently killed donkey. He picked it up and killed 1,000 Philistines with it.

 

Observation:  What a difficult chapter to read!  Samson is a mess.  He boldly and defiantly chose a pagan wife and goes into a rage when he finds out he can’t have her.  He punishes all the Philistines for his wife’s father’s indiscretion by destroying their wheat harvest, the father and woman are then burned to death, and he is then given over to the Philistines by his own people.  He makes a lot of really bad, defiant, brutal choices and yet God doesn’t let them go to waste.  While we can be certain that God did not approve of Samson’s terrible behavior, God uses Samson’s foolishness to achieve his bigger purpose of defeating the Philistines.

 

Application:  Have you ever been part of such a painful, difficult situation that you think, “There is no way God can use this!”  But God has a way of taking the messiest, most dysfunctional situation and using it for a bigger purpose.  That doesn’t mean he approves of bad decisions or in any way wants us to experience pain, but God won’t let any of that go to waste.   God can take the worst situation and redeem it.

 

Prayer:  God, in the middle of my mess, thank you for always being with me.  Thank you for not wasting any part of my life.  Take what you will and use it for your glory.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Romans 8:28, And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

 

Blessings,

Rev. Vicki

 

P.S.  Have you heard about Zoe? The mission of Zoe is to empower vulnerable children to move beyond charity.  Their goal is to break the cycle of extreme poverty by empowering orphans and vulnerable children to become entrepreneurs who are socially, financially, and spiritually strong.  At New Hope, we will be sponsoring an orphan empowerment group in Zimbabwe for the next three years.  Alternative Christmas gifts to support our specific group are still available!  Contact me by responding to this email. Want to learn more about Zoe? Go to wearezoe.org

 

Check out the New Hope website - www.findnewhope.com

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