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WHAT A WITNESS!

 2 Samuel 3:36 “Now all the people took note of it, and it pleased them, just as everything the king did pleased all the people.

PEOPLE ARE WATCHING

 This verse follows the story of Joab, David’s army commander, killing Abner, Ishbosheth’s army commander, by tricking him to return to Hebron where David began his reign as King of Israel.  David was upset and wanted the people to know he had NOT endorsed this murder.  His actions pleased the people.

But look at the last phrase, “just as everything the king did pleased all the people.” This wasn’t a one-time thing.  David lived his life as an example of following the Lord.  Everything he did pleased the Father, so everything he did pleased the people.  Oh, to live that way.

TEACHING MOMENT

If we can teach our children to live to please the Father, they will please us.  There is nothing a Christian parent desires more than to see their children walking with God.  How can I argue with that?

So, how do we do that?  How do we teach them to walk closely with the Lord, thus pleasing us?  By consistently teaching and leading them to God’s Word.  That is the key.  There is no magic formula.  The answers to how to walk closely with the Lord lie right in the Scriptures.

Are you following the Lord daily?  Can your family say, “Everything you do pleases us”?  Can your employer say that?  Can the Lord say that?  Be like David.  Seek the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

O Lord, I desire to please You in all I do.  I want others to be pleased with me as I please You.  Help me lead my children to do the same.

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TICK, TOCK

 Psalm 90:4 “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night.”

A DIFFERENT CLOCK

Have you ever been awake all night listening to the clock tick?  Boy, I have.  Some nights I am awake more than I am asleep.  But I have found those nights to be sweet times with the Lord.  That’s a whole other story.

This verse, especially the last phrase, reminded me of that.  God’s clock runs different than ours.  He can see all of eternity at the same time.  Our finite minds can’t comprehend that, nor could we handle it if we could.  We simply have to trust that time is in His hands, not ours.

TEACHING MOMENT

 Teaching time to our children is a challenge, isn’t it?  Do you remember learning to tell time on the old analog clocks?  Now everything is digital, but the challenge of understanding time is still there.  Our children have to learn to look at time with Biblical eyes though.  Time isn’t just time.  It’s a spot on the line of eternity.

Do some math with your kids.  Count up the number of seconds in a minute, then an hour, then a day, then a week, then a month, then a year and then since they have been born.  That will blow their minds.  Every second counts.  Teach them to make the most of each second.

But, are you doing that?  Are you aware of how much time you waste watching tv or piddling around?  I am guilty of that.  Show your kids by your actions that time is important to you and to the Lord.

Maker of time, remind me of my place in eternity.  Every minute You bless me with is a minute I should use to glorify You.  Thank You for giving me this day.

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BIRTH RECORD

 Psalm 87:6 “The Lord will count when He registers the peoples, ‘This one was born there.’ Selah.”

HE’S COUNTING

Isn’t it amazing how many times you see a new verse when you read God’s Word?  This verse, for instance.  I have read Psalm 87 many times, but today this verse hit me.  God is counting us!  He knows when and where I was born.  Now, I’ve always known that, but I had never seen it written.  Well, I had seen it, but it never registered like this before.

Where were you born?  I was born at Phoebe Putney Hospital in Albany, GA on a Friday evening around 6 p.m.  I only weighed a little over 5 pounds (I have been trying since then to gain weight, lol).  That evening, God counted me.  Selah!

TEACHING MOMENTS

When you help your children with their math and they are complaining, read them this verse.  Tell them that even God counts.  And think of how high He has to count to count everyone who ever lived.  Hmmm, I wonder how many that is?  Some estimate over 100 billion. Only God knows.

Remind your children that they are important if God counted them.  He knows them intimately.  He not only counted them, but He also counted every hair on their head. Wow!  Now that’s a good counter.

What are you counting right now?  Are you counting the number of days until vacation?  How about the number of days until you can retire?  How about counting something important like the number of your neighbors or friends or family members who don’t know Christ?  Then start subtracting from that number by being deliberate to share Christ with them.

Lord, You are the ultimate mathematician.  Nothing escapes Your keen eye.  Thank You for counting me and knowing me like You do. 

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BFFs

 1 Samuel 20:42 “Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying, “The Lord will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.”’ Then he rose and departed, while Jonathan went into the city.”

LIFE LONG FRIENDS

 How many of you have ever had a best friend?  I mean one you could not see for years and then pick up right where you left off.  I have one of those.  We may go years without seeing each other due to the distance between us. But when we are together it is like no time has passed.  Pretty cool.

Jonathan and David had a covenant friendship.  They loved each other.  But it went beyond that.  Their friendship extended beyond themselves to their descendants.  They promised to love each other’s families.  That’s true friendship.  That’s rare.  But it is possible with God.

TEACHING MOMENT

Making these kinds of friends isn’t easy. It requires us, as parents, to invest in our children’s friends.  My wife and I had to allow our children to spend the time with their friends, either at their house or ours, to develop deep relationships.  Both of our children have childhood friends to this day.  But they could not have done that without our help.

You may not can choose your children’s friends, but you can sure guide them in their choosing.  You can sure invest in their friends’ lives.  My wife and I are “mom” and “dad” to many of our children’s childhood friends to this day.  Why?  Because we loved them.  We showed them Jesus.

Are you loving your children’s friends?  Are you being a witness to them?  Are you praying for them and with them?  That’s how you impact your children’s choice of friends.  Make them your friends too.

O God, thank You for allowing me to invest in the lives of others, especially my children’s friends.  Thank You for the joy of seeing them grow in Christ. 

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JEALOUSY

 1 Samuel 18:8-9 “8 Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, ‘They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?’ 9 Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.

 BEWARE OF ITS TRAP

 Saul liked all the attention.  After all, he was the anointed King of Israel, the first king.  He should be the one getting all the praise.  So, when David began getting all the attention, Saul couldn’t stand it.  Jealousy began to build up.

The young boy who had been chosen to play the harp to calm Saul became the object of suspicion.  The young man who had killed Goliath became a challenger to the throne.  David was getting what Saul wanted – the love of the people.  Verse 9 says, “Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.”  The word “suspicion” means Saul tried to find some iniquity or fault in David.  But he couldn’t.

TEACHING MOMENT

As parents, we need to watch out for that evil monster of jealousy in our kids.  Siblings can show it against each other.  Children can show it against their friends.  They want what the other person has.  And it begins.  Jealousy leads to evil actions.  It is never good when it is directed against others.

If we are not careful our children can allow this jealousy to control their every action.  They will even, like Saul, try to find some “dirt” on the other person to expose.  Then they will appear better than that person.  Little Johnny doesn’t get picked to be on a ball team, so he decides to trash someone who did.  Little Susie likes a boy who likes someone else, so she decides to spread rumors about the girl.

Don’t allow this.  Stop it quickly.  And don’t show signs of jealousy in your life.  You know what I mean.  Even we adults get jealous when we see someone else getting something we want.  Confess that now!  Give that to the Lord.

Lord, I confess to You now any spirit of jealousy that comes on me.  Lord, I want to be content with whatever You choose to bless me with.  You know exactly what I need and can handle.  Thank You, Father.

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GOOD HONEY OR BAD HONEY

 1 Samuel 14:27 “But Jonathan had not heard when his father put the people under oath; therefore, he put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened.”

WHAT’S SWEETER

 Without knowing it, Jonathan had disobeyed his father, Saul.  He was busy fighting the Philistines and had not heard the command to fast until the battle was over.  But he was faint from all the fighting and knew the honey would restore his energy to continue the fight.

It’s interesting when he found out about the command that he remarked how foolish it was (verses 29-30).  But when he came back to his father and it was revealed what he had done, he was willing to die for his disobedience (verse 43).  He recognized his father’s right as king to make any command.

TEACHING MOMENT

So, what is this story about?  How do we teach it to our children?  One lesson we can get from this is Jonathan’s submission to his father.  Even though he disagreed with the command, he was willing to accept the consequence for his disobedience.  He had disobeyed unknowingly, but he had still disobeyed.

Your children are going to question your authority.  If not already, it will happen.  Remember, questioning your authority does not weaken your authority.  You are still the parent.  Our children need to see that authority carries with it the requirement to lead them correctly and fairly.  And when you blow it, and you will, you have the wherewithal to make it right.

What command of God are you questioning right now?  Are you remorseful when confronted?  Are you willing to accept the consequence?  Be like Jonathan.  Let God direct you.  And when He does, follow.  Period!

Lord, I may not understand or even agree with all your directives in my life, but I want to follow.  Help me make my heart more submissive to Your Will. 

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THE WRONG QUESTION

 1 Samuel 9:11 “As they went up the slope to the city, they found young women going out to draw water and said to them, ‘Is the seer here?’” 

ALWAYS GETS THE WRONG ANSWER

Saul was looking for Samuel to find out where his father’s donkeys were.  They had been looking for them without any luck and thought “the seer” could help them.  Why waste the time of a prophet of God looking for donkeys?  They had no idea what lied ahead.  Saul had NO idea he would be anointed as Israel’s first king.

Sometimes when we go to God with a request He has a completely different answer for us than we expected.  Sometimes He probably (notice I said probably) thinks, “What a dumb request.”  Now I am sure He doesn’t really think that.  But looking back at how He answers makes us realize we had really asked for the wrong thing.

TEACHING MOMENT

You have heard the expression, “There is no such thing as a stupid question, just a stupid answer.”  Well…sometimes questions are a little less than smart.  But when our children ask us something we should do our best to answer them with truthfulness.  Sometimes their questions make us stop and think.  Other times the answers are easy.

We do need to do our best, though, to answer their questions.  This teaches them to keep asking questions.  They won’t learn how to do life without asking those questions.  God wants them to ask.  He wants to answer.  That is the key.  They need to keep asking God for direction and the answers to those challenging life questions.

What are you asking God right now?  Has He EVER refused to answer?  You may not like the answer, but I guarantee He hasn’t refused to answer.  Just listen.  He will respond, sooner or later.

God, I know you are listening.  I know You are ready to answer. Prepare my heart to hear what You say and not what I want You to say.

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GOLDEN WHAT?

 1 Samuel 6:4 “Then they said, ‘What shall be the guilt offering which we shall return to Him?’ And they said, ‘Five golden tumors and five golden mice according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for one plague was on all of you and on your lords.’”

 A STRANGE OFFERING

 I have seen a lot of golden gifts, but I have never seen golden mice or tumors, especially tumors.  Who in the world would think that would make a good gift?  The Philistines, that’s who.  They had been plagued with mice and tumors since they had captured the ark of the covenant and brought it to their land.  God was letting them know they had no business with that.

Have you ever given God a gift that was less than desirable?  Have you offered Him your leftovers or something you really didn’t want anymore?  I used to oversee four Thrift Shops at a ministry.  I can’t even begin to tell you the literal trash we received from people.  And they wanted a tax receipt for it since they were giving to a ministry – to God.

TEACHING MOMENT

 We have to teach our children to give God our best.  The Lord deserves it.  We don’t give out of guilt, like the Philistines did.  We don’t have to “come up with” what we think is a good gift for God.  The Word tells us how and what to give.  We need to give Him our first fruits and our best.  We need to give Him our ALL.

So, how do you teach your kids that?  Help them decide how to invest their lives in service.  The ark represented the very presence and power of God.  We have that already in us in the form of the Holy Spirit, if we are believers.  Pray with your children every day to surrender their life and will to Him.  That’s much better than mice or tumors.  Lol

How are you doing with that?  Have you surrendered your ALL to Him today?  Have you laid down your desires for His?  Have you tried to “capture” the presence and power of God without realizing you already have it?

Powerful and ever present Father, envelope me today.  Remind me I am Yours.  Remind me I have to surrender to You today.  I love You, Lord.

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IN FAVOR

1 Samuel 2:26 “Now the boy Samuel was growing in stature and in favor both with the Lord and with men.”

 WITH ALL

 Doesn’t this verse sound familiar?  Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”  Hmmm.  Very similar.  I wonder if Luke had this verse about Samuel in mind when the Holy Spirit inspired him to pen those words.

But look at the words.  Both the Hebrew word in 1 Samuel and the Greek word in Luke mean “pleasing” or “beautiful” or “in favor.”  What does that mean?  It means just want it says.  Samuel and Jesus had this in common.  They both pleased God and those around them.  Centuries apart – man and God-man – and they both pleased the Father.

TEACHING MOMENT

These words are so good for our kids.  We should be teaching them how to be “in favor.”  As they please their Heavenly Father through obedience to His Word and His Son, they will be in favor with us and those around them.  They will be pleasing to others.  They won’t rub people the wrong way.

When your children stray from this, we need to give them gentle reminders of what this means.  It is so easy to get caught up in our own desires and plans that we forget to please God. We forget to strive to be “in favor” through obedience.  It is so much easier to live in obedience if our motivation is to please the Father.  I am not talking about a works mentality.  I am talking about loving Him so much we can bear to disappoint.

Are you desiring that?  Do you reflect each day on how you can stay in favor with God and man?  I want to encourage you today to do that.  Take a look at your actions and words.  Do any of them lead in a direction other than obedience?  If so, stop right there.  Redirect and follow Him.

Lord and Father, I do want to be in favor with You daily.  I know my hope is in Christ.  I rest in that.  But I also want to please You through my actions.  Thank You for empowering me to do just that.

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