Psalm 48:14 "For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end."
When you surrender to the Holy Spirit to guide your life, you are emptying all the closest and drawers of your life and asking the Him to come in not as guest, but as Lord and Master of all you are and have.
Remember the Lord has your best interests in mind. You are not surrendering to a cruel dictator tyrant who wants to make your life miserable and boring.
The Lord wants to give you an abundant life and make something out of your life for His honor and glory and the blessing of humankind. The Lord is always faithful in all of His wisdom and guidance.You may not always have your way, but you will discover that His way is the best way.
Father, thank you that because of your great compassion, you didn’t abandon us. Thank you that you make me lie down in green pastures because you are the Great and Good Shepherd. Father, you guide with your counsel and will afterward will take me into glory. Thank you that you teach what is best for me. And thank you that you direct me in the way I should go. Reassure my heart today of your power and presence. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
1 Samuel 1:13 "Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk."
The persistent prayer of Hannah teaches us that when we begin with nothing and when we receive any blessing, we can know it is of God and not of ourselves.
God took Hannah’s total inability to have a child as the starting point to work a miracle, which came to be a blessing of an entire nation. She didn’t give up when her prayers weren’t answer. Hannah realized that whether God gave her a child or not wouldn’t change the fact that God was her only source of strength and support.
What Hannah ultimately learned is that the even love of her husband or anyone else couldn’t fill the void of knowing God personally through prayer. In times of dryness, joy, and grief, turn to the One who can take the old and make it new (2 Cor. 5:15-18).
Father, this world is a world of upside town, topsy-curvy morals and people—including myself. Lord, even your leaders in your local church are just humans who are sinful but are called to serve. Admittedly, Lord, I don’t pray in my heart like Hannah does. I don’t come year after year to the place of trusting you. I don’t wait on you like I should. Forgive me, Lord, for all of this and more. Teach me that persevering prayer, like the widow in Jesus’ parable, is what matters most. To know you through prayer is the greatest treasure, Father. I thank you and praise you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
1 Chronicles 14:12 "The Philistines had abandoned their gods there, and David gave orders to burn them in the fire."
The writer of Hebrews tells us that “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). God’s holiness demands that we come to Him in reverent humility. “Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28). This requires taking action to remove and burn away anything that would pull you away from putting Christ first.
When you commit those areas of your life to God, you will see victories occur in places you never thought possible. God’s cleansing fire must come over us if we are to grow in Him. All it takes is a small spark of faith.
Father, David burned the gods of his enemies. He understood that his ancestors often turned away from God when even one small idol was allowed to exist in Israel. Lord, would you please burn the idols out of my life? Would let it be said of me that the only thing precious to me is you and your nature? Would you take my stone-cold heart and make it new again? Father, thank you that you don’t throw in the towel on me or move on to someone else. I praise you that you began a good work in me and will see it through to the day of redemption. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
God has set many boundaries for us as Christians that are not optional. When God gives a command, it is not a suggestion that we can follow when we like. His lines of holiness and righteousness are clearly laid out in Scripture for us to see.
Rather, we should think of it as we get to follow what God says. We get to live for the creator of heaven and earth!
Is it unusual? Yes! Is it inconvenient sometimes? Yes, from the world’s view! Is it always easy? No, it is not!
It takes a lot to stand for God in a world that hates Him. The question we should be asking is not how close we can run to the line of temptation and sin, but rather how far we can run away from it. If we run the race in this way, we will be sure to gather the prize of God’s blessing.
Father, your commands are not meant to make our lives burdensome, for Christ said, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” When we are truly following your commands, we will be as free as a bird, spreading our wings and flying high into the mountains of joy, peace, and purpose. However, if we grudgingly question what you tell us to do, we can expect bitterness, anger, and resentfulness to appear. Lord, I want to live out the joy of my salvation and in the joy of your presence. I want to cast all my cares on you that before me. Help me today, Lord, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Genesis 13:8 So Abram said to Lot, "Let's not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives."
Abram was older than Lot. Abram was the uncle and Lot was the nephew. So it would have been entirely appropriate for Abram to tell Lot, “You go that way, and I’ll go that way.” End of discussion. But instead Abram does this amazing thing in letting Lot make the decision. That is humility and sacrifice and it arises from a heart that is trusting in God.
Apply this to your own life. Maybe it is a situation at work, a family relationship, or a disagreement with a friend, and you feel so strongly that, “I’m right, and I’m going to get my way.” That’s unbelief! That’s trusting in ourselves rather than God. We say, “I have a plan, and I’m smart enough to take care of myself, and I’ll look out for number 1 and work things out according to my best interest.” Our lack of trust in God will produce that kind of selfishness and pride and dishonesty.
Abram was faithless and faithful. In Egypt, he feared man, took issues into his own hands, and was dishonest—all because he was not trusting God. In chapter 13, though, he is a great example of faith. Instead of looking out for himself, he sacrifices his own rights and desires for his nephew Lot. He trusted that God was in control and had a good plan, and so he was able to humble himself and make this tremendous sacrifice.
Ask the LORD to help you walk humbly before Him and others.
Father, even when I have a great devotion time with you and with my church family on Sunday, how easy it is for me to slip into arguing with my family. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, Lord! I desire to put you first in my life and have the faith Abraham with his Lot to do what is right in your eyes. Remind me that as I see first your kingdom, you will add all these things to me. Lord, it is your day. Glorify your name in my life—not for my name to be in the limelight. But for your name to be advanced. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 Samuel 11:2 "One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful."
We face tests like these every day of our lives. Some we will pass, and some we will fail. Some, like the one David faced, can have catastrophic results (2 Samuel 11-12).
After rising from his bed late at night, David opened his sleep-deprived eyes to the beauty of Bathsheba bathing in the distance. What occurred after this event were some of David's darkest days. Instead of asking the Lord for forgiveness, he had the husband of Bathsheba sent to the front of the battle lines, causing him to die quickly upon arrival. David then used his authority as king to arrange a marriage with Bathsheba. Finally, the prophet Nathan spoke words from the Lord to David and he repented of his sin.
One way to prepare for tests on our character is to remind ourselves that God is always watching us. Even in the dark, when the doors are locked, and when no one else around us knows what we are thinking or doing, God knows and sees. And He, more than anyone else in the world, longs for us to pass the test. Your true character shows when you think no one is watching you live your life. And He gives us the strength to do it.
Oh, Lord, as I read over David’s story I know that it seems so simple. Why didn’t he go out to war like the other kings? Why didn’t he look away? How could he have been so foolish? Didn’t he have all he wanted? Yet, Lord, as quick as I am to judge David, I realize my own heart, if I am honest before you, is no different. I pray your Holy Spirit would guide me to greater truth and revelation to know the power of sin and the even greater power of you, the Sin-Canceler. I praise you for this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Judges 16:17 So he told her everything. 'No razor has ever been used on my head,' he said, 'because I have been a Nazirite set apart to God since birth.
The story of Samson shows us the result of making all the wrong choices. You can read his entire story in four quick and brief chapters (Judges 13-16). Because of his incredible strength, Samson thought he was invincible, so he ignored God's plan and voice. He willfully violated every vow he had taken and brought disgrace to his family. But Samson's bad choices led him into the hands of the enemy, the Philistines. It cost him his magnificent strength (16:19), his eyes (16:21), his freedom (16:21), his dignity (16:25), and his life (16:30).
The irony behind Samson's life is that, for all his stupidity, he is still held up as a hero of the faith who ""administered justice, and gained what was promised"" (Hebrews 11:32-33). That's God's incredible grace at work, my friend! Still, no one wants to become a tragic hero like Samson, even if mentioned in the pages of a book.
Perhaps you are struggling with an annoying pattern of bad or less than good choices in the past few days. Don't lose heart. With the Holy Spirit's guidance, you can do the right thing, starting now. Before the temptation hits again, learn now to rely on the One who gives us perfect peace (Philippians 4:7).
Father, the most tragic part of Samson’s story is how he drifted from you and how quickly. He didn’t realize that you had left him. Father, I thank you that good biblical teaching and theology reminds me that when I truly come to know your Son by repentance and faith in His name alone and work alone, I am saved from all my sin and kept by your power until the day of redemption. Yet, Lord, sin is ever before me. Father, be the slayer of the dragon of sin in my life. Resurrect my heart to the reality I can’t fight these battles alone. I pray this all in Jesus’ name. Amen.