Pride is a tricky thing. It can sneak into your life subtly and almost when you're not looking, but can cause so much damage in your relationships. God hates pride, mostly because it is us thinking that our thoughts, ways, or intents are better than His.
I was reading my devotion this morning and Wendy Blight said it better than I ever could . . .
1 Samuel 31:6 (NIV)“So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day.”
Today is Saul’s day of reckoning. This day God exacted justice for the blood of the Amalekites Saul sinfully spared. The blood of the priests he sinfully spilled. The blood of David for which he sinfully sought and desperately schemed.
On the battlefield of Mount Gilboa, God fulfills Samuel’s haunting prophecy against Saul in 1 Samuel 28:18-19. This mountain that had once set the backdrop for Gideon’s great victory now becomes the scene of Saul’s shameful end.
In the heat of the Philistine battle, Saul watched his soldiers fall dead around him. He then watched as the Philistines slaughtered three of his sons one by one, including David’s beloved friend Jonathan. Saul knew he was next. The Philistines had already critically wounded him, and fearing further torture, Saul asked his armor-bearer to finish the job. He refused, so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. The king of Israel chose to die by his own hand, rather than be humiliated by the enemy.
The Philistines celebrated their victory in the most gruesome of ways. They hung Saul’s head in the temple of Dagon (1 Chronicles 10:10), displayed his armor in the temple of Ashtoreth and fastened his body to a wall as a trophy of their victory.
Saul’s tragic ending takes us back to God’s words in Deuteronomy 7:9-10. God promised to keep His covenant of love “to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”But “to those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction.”
We see this played out before our eyes with King Saul. He disobeyed God for years. He walked in his own ways. He failed to seek God’s counsel. And in the end, Saul even chose death by his own hand.
God kept His Word. He held Saul accountable. Israel’s enemies overtook them. Saul and his family died painful, humiliating deaths.
Though Saul’s life ends shamefully and tragically, it leaves a legacy of valuable lessons.
A life steeped in sin begins with compromise and small steps of disobedience.
Prideful justifications and excuses cannot replace humble confessions.
God-given gifts are worthless when not surrendered to the One who gifted them.
Yes, the first king of Israel was tall, handsome, strong, rich and powerful. But it all meant nothing without a heart surrendered to the One who placed him on Israel’s throne. Saul looked good on the outside but was spiritually bankrupt on the inside.
Friend, Saul’s life teaches us how not to live. David’s life teaches us how we should live.
Walk consistently and faithfully, stacking small steps of obedience one on top of another.
Bow before God when we take a step of disobedience, swiftly and humbly confessing our sin without justification or excuse.
Surrender our God-given gifts and talents to our Creator, giving Him alone all the glory and honor for our successes.
Prayer: Father, help me to walk consistently and faithfully with You. Give me a heart of humility so that when I take even the smallest step off Your path, I will submit to Your words of discipline and turn back toward You. May I daily give back to You that which You have entrusted to me. May I never seek personal credit and always give You all the glory in everything I say and do. In Jesus’ name, amen."
I spent the morning yesterday with my two sweet nieces L & M at Chick-Fil-A....or as they affectionately call it..... "ChickenfilA!" I thought it would be great to stop in and let them eat a little breakfast and play on the playland....which they love!! I was also being wise in the timing since we would be there before too many other people got the same idea! The sweet little sidekicks of mine are 4 and 1 3/4 years old. What I found out was that although the younger of the two is quite mobile, she happens to be just a little too short to make it up the tube by herself. When she realized that trying to climb up the tube by herself was proving unfruitful she turned around and ran straight to me. This was not just any run...she ran with her arms outstretched as she was calling my name! She knew that she couldn't do it on her own! Well, needless to say that melted my heart! Anyone who knows me, knows that I am always up for a little fun. But I am not so sure that a playland designed for children that are close to 40 years my junior would be considered my fun of choice! LOL! But I excitedly took off my shoes and helped her climb on in. Then as we made our way through the plastic maze I helped her explore and experience the playland in all its mighty splendor!
As I thought more about it, it made me think about my relationship with God. You see, children find it so easy to ask for help when they need it. They run to the ones they love, and ask for help. So that made me wonder......when does that switch flip? When does it become bad to ask for help?What makes us try to do everything on our own when a loving heavenly Father wants to help us? God is waiting for us to ask for His help. He wants to help us experience life in all its splendor! Not that we won't go through difficulties, but we don't have to do it alone. Take time each day to invite God into your day. He wants to help you through each situation that you face. Sometimes our life can be much like the plastic tubes of a playland and we may not be able to navigate it on our own. Be quick to go to God, He is waiting to hear from you.
I was reading my devotional this morning and it spoke directly to my heart. I have been a person that has thought that my dreams were either unimportant or too lofty for someone like me to even hope to achieve. But God has been doing a great thing in my heart this year! He has begun to challenge me to new things and has placed great dreams in my heart!
So when dreams were the topic of my devotional my heart leapt inside me!
So take a moment friend and read this devotion by Joyce Meyer and allow God to speak to you, challenge you, and encourage you. He has great things in store for you.....so don't be afraid of the dreams he has given you. Turn them into plans and move forward!
What is the dream that God's placed in your heart?I'm not asking if you have one, I already know it's there because God gives all of us dreams. I've seen people do all kinds of things to their dreams. Some people bury them so deep in their hearts in order to protect them from the criticism of others. Some people set them out of sight so they don't have to think about them anymore. And some people finally just give up on their dreams because it hurts too much to hold on.
If your dream needs a jump-start, there are two things I want you to remember. First, you need to get a vision that's clear. And second, you must keep your vision in front of you at all times. But having a vision doesn't mean that it will instantly appear. God's as interested in the process of vision as He is in the end result.
The apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:11-13 that he had learned how to be content and satisfied to the point where he was not disturbed by whatever state he was in. In other words, he never allowed himself to get upset with where he was at the moment, he was always looking forward to where he could be. That means you, like Paul, need to find a balance between contentment and ambition. Here's the key: Learn to enjoy where you are on the way to where you're going.
When you have a dream or a vision, you have to keep it in front of you. If it helps, write it down. And remember, God will help you live the dream He's given you, step-by-step, one day at a time.
Prayer Starter: Jesus, even though I don't always feel like it and life tries to get me to quit, I believe You have a great plan for my life. I choose to trust You to help me live the dream You've given me more than I trust my circumstances.
If you are anything like me there are probably times that you don't feel very delightful! In fact, I am going to go out on a limb and say that there may even be times that you don't act very delightful! LOL! Well, don't get too down on yourself. The bottom line is that we are all human. None of us do this thing called life perfectly. Why is it that we find it so easy to believe that God can forgive us of our sins, but we somehow forget that He delights in us! We find it easy to trust Him for our salvation, but we somehow find it hard to believe that He will forgive us again when we slip up. When our perspective is wrong and we believe that what God wants from us is merely a religious interaction, we get things mixed up. The key to seeing God and His true character is to remember that He is all about relationships. When we change our viewpoint, our perspective gets shifted back into alignment. So how do we rest in the fact that our Lord delights in us. That He desires to get to know us, and more than that....He desires us to get to know Him. We need to spend time in God's Word learning His character. Psalm 149:4 says, "For the Lord takes delight in His people, He crowns the humble with victory." We can trust our God. We can rest assured that He is working on our behalf even when it doesn't feel like it. We can take Him at His Word and know that when He says that He delights in us.....that is the truth. So as you go through your week, remember how much God loves you.....and take heart. We serve a good Father that delights in you!