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“I” Could Do a Better Job Than My Boss! –2 Samuel 15:32-38

Today’s Scripture Reading:  2 Samuel 15:1 through 17:14

Today’s reading is not just another day in the life of David and his dysfunctional family.

The story of Absalom is a story that stands as a warning to all of us.  For every leader in any organization there are usually one or two subordinates or under-leaders who think they could do a better job than their leader.

Absalom…

  • bought a chariot and horses
  • Hired 50 bodyguards
  • Got up early and went to the gate of the city
  • Told people that David didn’t have anyone to hear their case
  • “Appeared” to be humble
  • Stole the hearts of the people
  • Had time for them
  • Stirred up a rebellion against his father, King David

He literally devised a plan to steal the kingdom from his father David.

What happened to Absalom to cause him to betray his own father?

  • Offense
  • Hatred
  • Unforgiveness
  • Bitterness

Have you ever been deceived by an Absalom?

It has happened to me.

While suffering at the hand of an Absalom is a tough pill to swallow, there is something worse—being an Absalom.

The next time you find yourself working in a team atmosphere where there’s an appointed leader, watch your self-talk (the thoughts that are going through your head).

Are you thinking things like…

  • This person isn’t that great of a leader
  • This person is insensitive to the needs of the people
  • I could do a much better job leading this team

Let’s go one step further; what are you saying to the other folks on your team or in your organization?

Does it sound anything like Absalom’s words in 2 Samuel 15: 32-38?

  • You really have a strong case here
  • It’s too bad the King doesn’t have anyone to hear it
  • I wish I were the judge
  • Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgement
  • I would give them real justice

Someone with an Absalom spirit is the under-leader with hidden agendas who eventually draws away disciples unto himself. An “Absalom” is the wolf in sheep’s clothing who steals sheep for his own gain.

This “spirit of Absalom” is rooted in pride.

I can’t believe how a five-letter word:  P-R-I-D-E can cause so many problems.  There is so much deception going on in this type of situation, but the person who is deceived the most is the “Absalom.”  He or she thinks their heart is right.

Friends, let’s make a commitment to check our motives daily.

Why are we saying what we’re saying?

Are we trying to elevate ourselves and put someone else down?

One of Satan’s greatest tools is the spirit of offense which he uses to breed disloyalty and rebellion.

Here’s a great motto to write on the walls of our hearts:

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.  –Author unknown

Thank you Lord for your Holy Spirit who shines a light in the crooks and corners of my heart!  Help me to always repent quickly and turn from my sins.

In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen!

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 17: 15-29; Psalm 3; Psalm 63, 2 Samuel 18: 1 through 19:30

Read the Directions or Not. What say You?

Today’s Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 5: 1-3, 1 Chronicles 11: 1-3,1 Chronicles 12: 23-40, 2 Samuel 5: 17-25, 1 Chronicles 14:8-17, 2 Samuel 5: 6-10, 1 Chronicles 11: 4-9,1 Chronicles 3: 4b, 2 Samuel 5:13, 4:5, 11:12, 1 Chronicles 14: 1-2, 1 Chronicles 13: 1-5, 2 Samuel 6:  1-11, 1 Chronicles 13: 6-14

David began making plans to move the ark.  He consulted his officials, including generals and captains of his army–everyone, except the Lord his God.

If you look in the first part of today’s reading, each time David went to battle he asked the Lord if he would have success.

But

he did not ask God or the Levites about transporting the Ark.

If David had asked he would have known that God gave strict instructions in His Law for transporting the Ark, found in Numbers 4:4, 15, 17-20:

This is the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of meeting, relating to the most holy things: . . . And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is set to go, then the sons of Kohath shall come to carry them; but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These are the things in the tabernacle of meeting which the sons of Kohath are to carry. . . . Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: “Do not cut off the tribe of the families of the Kohathites from among the Levites; but do this in regard to them, that they may live and not die when they approach the most holy things; Aaron and his sons shall go in and appoint each of them to his service and his task. But they shall not go in to watch while the holy things are being covered, lest they die.

As I look back in the previous chapters I wonder if this could be a clue about why David didn’t ask anyone for instructions to transport the Ark:

And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies was with him.  –2 Samuel 5:10

Was David feeling so powerful that he thought it wasn’t necessary to consult the Lord?

I don’t know, but power is probably the biggest heart test.  Give a person an extra dose of power and you’ll see what their made of.

There are two kinds of people, when it comes to starting a project; the ones who read the directions and the ones who don’t.

Have you ever skipped the directions and then kicked yourself because of the extra time or money that resulted from feeling you could do it without any help?

David’s mistake costs someone’s life.

Father, help us to know where our power comes from and to look to You to know how to use it.  Heavenly Father, you gave us instructions for everything we will ever face in Your Word, the Bible. Holy Spirit, give us a desire for Your instructions.  Help us to seek You before we begin each day to hear Your instructions for the day.

In Jesus Names. Amen and Amen!

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  2 Samuel 6:12a, 1 Chronicles 15: 1-28, 2 Samuel 6:12b-16, 1 Chronicles 15:29, 2 Samuel 6: 17-19a, 1 Chronicles 16: 1-43, 2 Samuel 6: 19b-23

Could Your Assumptions Be Completely Wrong?

Today’s Scripture Reading:  2 Samuel 3:6 through 2 Samuel 4:12

  • The Amalekite man assumed David would be happy Saul was dead (2 Samuel 1: 1-16)
  • Joab assumed David would approve of his revenging his brother Asahel’s death by killing Abner (2 Samuel 3: 22-30)
  • Recab and Baanah assumed David would be pleased when they brought him the head of Ishbosheth, Saul’s son after they killed him while he slept in his bed (2 Samuel 4: 1-3)

I have to remind myself as I read the scriptures each day that the people we’re reading about didn’t know what we know. We are reading their story!  This is history to us but for them they were making decisions in the present!

It seems they were clueless about David’s heart.  They assumed David wrote funeral songs for Saul and Abner and mourned them for days to win the favor of men.  But David’s heart was genuinely grieved.

All of these guys assumed and it ultimately cost them their lives.

I wonder how many times in today’s world our assumptions are completely wrong?

  • We assume God doesn’t really know everything we do and think
  • We assume we will have plenty of time to ask for forgiveness
  • We assume God’s okay with a little white lie

Just like these men were clueless about David’s heart, we are clueless about the heart of the living, all-knowing God of the Universe.

The best way to keep from assuming is to ask and don’t do anything until you get an answer.

Dear Heavenly Father, there is one thing I can assume…You love me with an everlasting love and your desire is for me to know Your Son as my personal savior.  Help me to never assume I know what You are thinking–Your ways are not my ways.  Help me to remember to go to Your Word and pray when I am tempted to assume.

In the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen and Amen!

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  2 Samuel 5: 1-3, 1 Chronicles 11: 1-3,1 Chronicles 12: 23-40,2 Samuel 5: 17-25, 1 Chronicles 14:8-17, 2 Samuel 5: 6-10, 1 Chronicles 11: 4-9, 1 Chronicles 3: 4b, 2 Samuel 5:13, 4:5,11:12, 1 Chronicles 14: 1-2, 1 Chronicles 13: 1-5, 2 Samuel 6:  1-11,1 Chronicles 13: 6-14

Which of These Fears are Holding You Back? –2 Samuel 23: 20-21

Today’s Scripture Reading:  2 Samuel 2: 1 through 2 Samuel 3: 5, 1 Chronicles 3: 1-4a, 2 Samuel 23: 8-17, 1 Chronicles 11: 10-19, 2 Samuel 23: 18-39, 1 Chronicles 11: 20-47

There was only one King David.

In most of our lifetimes God will not call us to a leadership role as visible as this “man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:13-14).

But

He has called us to something.

Benaiah was one of those people who was determined to give his best to his calling. He was determined to pursue rather than be pursued.

Benaiah son of Jehoiada from Kabzeel was a vigorous man who accomplished a great deal. He once killed two lion cubs in Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he climbed down into a pit and killed a lion. Another time he killed a formidable Egyptian. The Egyptian was armed with a spear and Benaiah went against him with nothing but a walking stick; he seized the spear from his grip and killed him with his own spear.      

 –2 Samuel 23:20-21 (The Message)

I never noticed Benaiah in my Bible reading until I read a book called, In a Pit With A Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson.

I want to be a lion chaser like Benaiah.  I want to take the things in life that have the capacity to destroy me and use them for God’s Glory.

What are the lions in your life?

As Mark said in his book:

What if the life you really want is hiding behind your biggest problem?  Your greatest regret at the end of your life will be the lions you didn’t chase. You will look back longingly on risks not taken, opportunities not seized, and dreams not pursued. Stop running away from what scares you most and start chasing the God-ordained opportunities that cross your path.

Before Benaiah could face the lion he had to face something bigger—his fears.

What fears are holding you back?

Here are the first three that come to mind:

  • The fear of failure
  • The fear of success
  • The fear of rejection

These fears may be your lions you must chase.  Let’s get out of the defensive mode and move to the offense—go after them, even it you have to chase them into a pit on a snowy day.

What are you waiting for?

Become a lion chaser!

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:   2 Samuel 3: 6 through 2 Samuel 4: 12

4-Steps to Better Crisis Management–1Samuel 30:6-9

Today’s Scripture Reading:  1 Samuel 30: 1-31, 1 Chronicles 12: 20-22, 1 Samuel 31: 1-13, 1 Chronicles 10: 1-14, 1 Chronicles 9: 40-44, 2 Samuel 4: 4, 2 Samuel 1: 1-27

Have you ever had something happen in your life that caused you to “weep until you could weep no more?”

When David and his men arrived home and found their city crushed and burned to the ground and their wives and children carried off, “they wept until they could weep not more.”

In one sense David was just like them, he had lost everything he loved, but in another he was the leader and everyone looked to him to fix it.  So when David thinks it can’t get any worse—it does.  He hears his men talking of stoning him.  He’s hurting as bad as they are, but somehow it’s his fault.

Folks we’re reading real life here.

This happens…

in the workplace

with friends

in families

I hate to say this…it happens in the church.

We get hurt and we play the blame game.

Yes, part of the responsibility and burden of being a leader is  taking charge in a crisis, but wouldn’t it have been great if David’s men would have brought him into the group and grieved with him rather than putting a target on his back as the cause of the problem.

Once again, David leads by example and gives us a model to follow on those days when we’ve “wept until we can’t weep anymore.”

How was David able to deal with his own grief, compose himself and develop a plan to get their families back?

He found strength in the Lord his God.

Oh, that we could follow the plan David laid out for us in today’s scriptures:

  1. David found strength in the Lord his God (1 Samuel 30:6b)
  2. David asked the Lord for guidance (1 Samuel 30:7)
  3. David waited to hear from God
  4. David led his men as they carried out the plan that the Lord had blessed (1 Samuel 30:9)

The order is really important! Complete one step before moving to the next one.

I don’t know about you, but when there is a crisis that needs some kind of action I usually get the news, jump in the car and pray on the way to ask God to bless what I’ve already decided to do!

What I should do is  S-T-O-P and follow David’s example.

Prayer is the most important thing we can do, but waiting for His answer is just as important.

Father God, I need your strength and your direction! Help me to follow David’s plan when the next crisis arrives.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen and Amen!

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  2 Samuel 2: 1 through 2 Samuel 3: 5, 1 Chronicles 3: 1-4a, 2 Samuel 23: 8-17, 1 Chronicles 11: 10-19, 2 Samuel 23: 18-39, 1 Chronicles 11: 20-47

What Do You Do “When It Seems God is Refusing to Answer?” –1 Samuel 28:5-7

Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 26:1-27:7; 1 Chronicles 12:1-7; 1 Samuel 27:8-29:11; 1 Chronicles 12:19; Psalm 56

What do you do when it “seems like” God is refusing to answer your prayers?

Do you react like Saul?

Meanwhile, Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him. He was buried in Ramah, his hometown. And Saul had banned from the land of Israel all mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead.

The Philistines set up their camp at Shunem, and Saul gathered all the army of Israel and camped at Gilboa.  When Saul saw the vast Philistine army, he became frantic with fear.  He asked the Lord what he should do, but the Lord refused to answer him, either by dreams or by sacred lots or by the prophets. Saul then said to his advisers, “Find a woman who is a medium, so I can go and ask her what to do.” 

His advisers replied, “There is a medium at Endor.”

Or do you trust like David?

O God, have mercy on me,

for people are hounding me.

My foes attack me all day long.

I am constantly hounded by those who slander me,

and many are boldly attacking me.

But when I am afraid,

      I will put my trust in you.

I praise God for what he has promised.

      I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?

What can mere mortals do to me?

They are always twisting what I say;
they spend their days plotting to harm me.

They come together to spy on me—
watching my every step, eager to kill me.
Don’t let them get away with their wickedness;
in your anger, O God, bring them down.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.

My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
This I know: God is on my side!

I praise God for what he has promised;
Yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised.

I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?

I will fulfill my vows to you, O God,
and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help.
For you have rescued me from death;
you have kept my feet from slipping.

So now I can walk in your presence, O God,
in your life-giving light.

Wait, wait, wait on God.  When fear comes over you, put your trust in your God.  Make a conscious choice to be like David.

Heavenly Father, help us to refuse to take matters into our own hands like Saul.  We will wait on you to rescue us.  When we’re afraid we will trust in You.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

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©2013, Dianne Guthmuller


Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 30:1-31; 1 Chronicles 12:20-22; 1 Samuel 31:1-13; 1 Chronicles 10:1-14; 1 Chronicles 9:40-44; 2 Samuel 4:4; 2 Samuel 1:1-27


What Do Others Think About Your Life? –1 Samuel 25:23-28

Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 23:13-29; Psalm 54; 1 Samuel 24:1-25:44

What do people think when they see your life and your relationship with Jesus Christ?

Here’s what Abigail thought about David’s life:

“Even when you are chased by those who seek to kill you, your life is safe in the care of the Lord your God, secure in his treasure pouch! But the lives of your enemies will disappear like stones shot from a sling!” —1 Samuel 25:29

What does it mean to be secure in God’s treasure pouch?

I would love to say that being in God’s treasure pouch means that no harm will come to us, but David’s life is a perfect example to the contrary–He was running for his life, living in caves and scrounging for food.

When I think of a pouch full of treasure there would only be three reasons for the owner to pull out the treasure:

  1. To count it, polish it, or admire it
  2. To show it to someone else
  3. To use it to buy something more valuable

It seems to me that God has done all three with His treasures:

  • He had Moses count all the Israelite men over 20 years old.   —Numbers 1:1-3
  • He bragged to Satan about his servant Job.   —Job 1:8
  • He allowed His Son to die on the cross to buy eternal life for you and me.  —John 3:16

Friends, you and I are God’s treasures:

The Lord has declared today that you are his people, his own special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands. —Deuteronomy 26:18 (NLT)

If you feel like God has pulled you out of His treasure pouch, just know that He’s either admiring your growth, showing you off for His Glory, or using your pain to buy the salvation of someone who doesn’t know Him.  The only place that’s safer than God’s treasure pouch is His hands!

Heavenly Father, I pray that as others look at my life they will see me as one of Your treasures.  Use me for Your Glory.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

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©2013, Dianne Guthmuller


Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Samuel 26:1-27:7; 1 Chronicles 12:1-7; 1 Samuel 27:8-29:11; 1 Chronicles 12:19; Psalm 56

Can You Pass The Success Test? –1 Samuel 13:14

Today’s Scripture Reading:  1 Samuel 17:32 through 19:17, Psalm 59, 1 Samuel 19:18-24

Two amazing men chosen by God—one has the title of “a man after God’s own heart” and the other an everlasting example of what not to do.

Let’s go back to the beginning of David and Saul’s lives and see what we can learn from them:

Both were chosen by God:

  • Now the Lord had told Samuel the previous day, “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin.  Anoint him (Saul) to be the leader of my people. –1 Samuel 9:15-16
  • And the Lord, said, “this is the one; anoint him.”  So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil.  —1 Samuel 16:12-13

Both had the Spirit of the Lord upon them:

  • When you (Saul) arrive at Gibeah of God…At that time the spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person. –1 Samuel 10:6
  • So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil.  And the Spirit of the Lord cam powerfully upon David from that day on.  –1 Samuel 16:13

Both started out as humble men:

  • When Samuel met Saul and told him that “he and his family would be the focus of all Israel’s hopes” Saul replied, “but I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe!  Why are you talking like this to me?”  –1 Samuel 9:20-21
  • When Saul offered David his daughter Merab, David replied, “Who am I, and what is my family in Israel that I should be the king’s son-in-law?” David exclaimed,  “My father’s family is nothing!” –1 Samuel 18:18

What happened?

Both of these men got off to a great start…

If you know the Bible stories you know that David did some bad things as well.  In my eyes they seemed as bad or worse than what Saul did; what was the difference?

The condition of the heart—when Saul was disobedient the first time, Samuel told Saul that his kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart.  –1 Samuel 13:14

So God’s number one qualification for king was for that person to be “a man after His own heart.”

Success is one of the greatest tests of the heart, even more than failure. 

Saul’s immediate success and fame led him to forget who made him king.  Saul’s became filled with pride and arrogance instead of humility.

The heart is still the most important thing the Lord looks at.  We can say and do the right things but it’s the heart that God judges. A heart full of pride cannot totally follow after God!

Holy Spirit, show us the areas of our heart that aren’t pleasing to you.  Help us to repent, ask for your forgiveness and cleansing and then help us to have a heart like David!

In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen!

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©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  1 Samuel 20:1 through 1 Samuel 21:15, Psalm 34      

One Sign of Emotional and Spiritual Health–1 Samuel 10:27

Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 9:1-12:25

When Saul returned to his home at Gibeah, a group of men whose hearts God had touched went with him.  But there were some scoundrels who complained, “How can this man save us?” And they scorned him and refused to bring him gifts. But Saul ignored them. —1 Samuel 10:27

Why did Saul ignore them?

After all he had just been anointed king; shouldn’t he have put these folks in their place?

Saul was just and ordinary guy and he knew it:

Saul replied, “But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe! Why are you talking like this to me?” —1 Samuel 9:21

At this stage of the game Saul was emotionally and spiritually healthy.  He knew his authority came from God. He was God’s puppet moving when the Spirit of God came upon him.  It wasn’t about him, so it was easy to ignore his scoffers.  God gave him a new heart (1 Samuel 10:9) that cared about the people of Israel more than his own reputation.

How much time to you spending fretting and worrying about what people are thinking and saying about you?

There’s only one opinion we need to be concerned about–our Heavenly Father’s.

In a few short chapters Saul will completely change…

I like this Saul.

 

Heavenly Father, help us to learn from Saul.  Help us to realize that when we begin to care more about what people think than what You think we are of no use to You.  Give us a new heart and teach us how to keep it pure. Use us for Your Glory.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller


Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 9:35-39; 1 Samuel 13:1-5, 19-23, 6-18; 1 Samuel 14:1-52

Lord Will You Bless Me? –1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Ruth 4:13 through Ruth 4:22, 1 Chronicles 2:9 through 1 Chronicles 2:55, 1 Chronicles 4:1 through 1 Chronicles 4:23, 1 Samuel 1:1 through 1 Samuel 1:8

Talk about the icing on the cake, not only did Ruth get swept off her feet by her kinsman redeemer, she became the great-grandmother of King David AND Jesus Christ came through her lineage.

Who knows?

Let me say that again: WHO KNOWS, the plan God has for our lineage.

I’m speaking to myself here…

We spend our whole life looking for a way for God to use us when the greatest and most important thing we may ever do is bring the next generation into this world!

Sowing seeds of greatness into the next generation is every Christian’s calling!

I would love to stop here and tell you about my five children and twelve grandchildren + one on the way, but it would take more time than you have all week!

That’s not all, there are people who God has placed in my life, that aren’t  part of my family that He has called me to sow seeds of greatness into their lives as well.

Speaking of lineages, we sure read some today.  Did you notice the little nugget hidden in the midst of all the descendents?

There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers.  His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful.  He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory!  Please be with me in all that I do and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request. –1 Chronicles 4: 9-10

…the sons of this one, the sons of that one…There was a man named Jabez…the sons of this one, the sons of that one…

Do you wonder why the story of Jabez was placed in the middle of this genealogy of the twelve tribes of Israel?

We could read  Bruce Wilkinson’s best-selling book, The Prayer of Jabez, published in 2000 and get the scoop, but here’s what “I” think:

The Jabez “success story” reinforces the importance of the little window of time (stuffed between chronicles of genealogies) we’re here on this earth.  It also shows us that no matter how painfully our lives begin or how insignificant they may seem in the big picture of life; God has a blessing and a purpose.

I know I’m reading things into this, but what if the reason Jabez’ birth was painful was because his Mom had him out-of-wedlock?  Or maybe Jabez was a chronically ill child?  Or maybe Jabez’ Mother died a pre-mature death because of the complications of childbirth?

Jabez could have missed God’s best because of his painful beginning; he could have blamed his mother, his  God, his community or the government. But instead he boldly asked God to bless him.

Here are 3 things I learned from Jabez:

  • Live an honorable life
  • Pray to God
  • Boldly ask God for His Best for our lives

Heavenly Father, oh that you would bless me and expand my territory!  Please be with me in all that I do and keep me from all trouble and pain!

In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen!

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller


Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  1 Samuel 1:9 through 1 Samuel 4:11

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