Friday, October 31, 2008


11 "Come," Jonathan said, "let's go out into the field." So they went there together.

 12 Then Jonathan said to David: "By the LORD, the God of Israel, I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know? 13 But if my father is inclined to harm you, may the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away safely. May the LORD be with you as he has been with my father. 14 But show me unfailing kindness like that of the LORD as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, 15 and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the LORD has cut off every one of David's enemies from the face of the earth."

 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, "May the LORD call David's enemies to account." 17 And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.

"What has God been trying to teach you this week?"

If you have ever been in my small group you know that is the first question I ask every week. I ask that because I think many of us just go through life without even thinking about God's presence and His activity in our life.

Well, yesterday a good friend asked me that. My response, "God is teaching me what it means to be devoted."

Here's why…I've taught on the devotion of the Acts 2 church; the "fellowship of the mat" (Mark 2 - 4 guys carrying the paralytic to Christ) and how devoted they were to each other; how God wants us connected to a body of believers called the church and the devotion we should have for God and other believers; all in the last week. I'm also blogging about the friendship of Jonathan and David and being reminded how short I have fallen in some of my covenant relationships with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I feel that devotion, whether it's to God and/or to His body is sorely lacking in the Christian community these days.

Who (or maybe what) are you devoted to?

The Bible says that if you don't love people, you can't love God. It's like trying to do algebra without knowing multiplication, you can't do it!

I know that in my own life I learned to love God more as I learned to love His people who loved Him.

And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he
loved him as he loved himself.

Is that one of the things that made David a man after God's own heart?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


1 Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, "What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to take my life?"

Do you have someone you can ask "what have I done" or "what about my character needs to change" and they will shoot straight with you?

 2 "Never!" Jonathan replied. "You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn't do anything, great or small, without confiding in me. Why would he hide this from me? It's not so!"

Saul knew Jonathan wouldn't put up with his evil ways so he hid them him; darkness hides from light.

 3 But David took an oath and said, "Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, 'Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.' Yet as surely as the LORD lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death."

 4 Jonathan said to David, "Whatever you want me to do, I'll do for you."

How many times have you heard or said "can I do anything for you?" Did you really mean anything? Jonathan did, but he knew David's heart and that David would not ask him to do anything wrong or to even rebel against his father. Do you have a friend like that?

 5 So David said, "Look, tomorrow is the New Moon festival, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow. 6 If your father misses me at all, tell him, 'David earnestly asked my permission to hurry to Bethlehem, his hometown, because an annual sacrifice is being made there for his whole clan.' 7 If he says, 'Very well,' then your servant is safe. But if he loses his temper, you can be sure that he is determined to harm me. 8 As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you have brought him into a covenant with you before the LORD. If I am guilty, then kill me yourself! Why hand me over to your father?"

9 "Never!" Jonathan said. "If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn't I tell you?"

What a risk! By confronting his father Jonathan was taking a huge risk, but David did also, he was willing to lay down his life. David reminded Jonathan of their covenant and the obligation to be honest with each other, even it meant being killed.

Wow, do you desire to be that honest in your relationships, even if it means death?

Would we have the courage to have friendships that have that level of honesty and the desire to push each other toward holiness?


Tuesday, October 28, 2008


"Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan…"
1 Samuel 20:1

Why did David leave?

Remember, Saul is trying to kill him and David is with Samuel the prophet, 3 posses sent to arrest David are stopped by the Spirit of God, even Saul can't touch
him, he can't even get up off the ground! He is safe, why leave?

The only reason that makes any sense is that he misses his dear friend Jonathan.

Ever had a friendship like that?

You would risk safety, comfort, everything for them?

This past week I taught three times on three different passages, but really it was on the same subject – the love we should have for God and our brother/sister in Christ – about being devoted.

I think that the love we must have for our brother or sister in Christ in sorely missing and misunderstood in the church today.

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him. 1 John 2:9-11

Jesus commanded we "Love each other as I have loved you" (John 15:12). Jesus lived out this command and as disciples we are to follow his example. Love becomes the lens through which we should view all of our relationships.

Do you see this love being displayed around you?

What are you doing to make it so?

There is a promise in there for you if you do, did you notice it? The promise says "there
is nothing in you to make you stumble", wow, what a promise!

There is also a warning! If you don't love your brother or sister in Christ you will wander aimlessly in the dark.

I think David and Jonathan found that kind of love, that's why he would leave.

Monday, October 27, 2008


22 Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Secu. And he asked, "Where are Samuel and David?"
      "Over in Naioth at Ramah," they said.

 23 So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even upon him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. 24 He stripped off his robes and also prophesied in Samuel's presence. He lay that way all that day and night. This is why people say, "Is Saul also among the prophets?" 1 Sam 19:22-24

"If you want something done, you got to do it yourself." I'm sure that's what Saul was muttering to himself.

All full of himself he goes, but the Spirit of God came on him and he started professing the things of God as he walked along the road.

This is Saul, remember?

Ever been around someone who showed God's gifts but lived like "hell" behind the scenes? There have been way too many of these in ministry and because of that unbelievers see us as hypocrites.

God, help me live in the power of your Holy Spirit!

Saul sure didn't have the character to back up his words. But, I'm also reminded that we are talking about God, the Great I Am, and He can use anybody he chooses to fulfill His will and His ways are not my ways.

I am God, and there is no other;
       I am God, and there is none like me.

I make known the end from the beginning,
       from ancient times, what is still to come.
       I say: My purpose will stand,
       and I will do all that I please.
Isaiah 46:9-10

Here's the warning for any of us who pretend; at some point we are going to encounter God and He might strip us naked and expose all the stuff that we've tried to hide!

Without his robes, Saul was reduced to an ordinary man or even less.

Do you think God might have been saying to Saul that the only reason he was still king was by God's own mercy and not by Saul's merits?

Can you imagine waking up after that?

Okay, some of you can, but it wasn't from an encounter with the Almighty!

"Is Saul among the prophets?"

These words were once spoken in amazement about Saul (10:11), but now they are spoken in ridicule.

Sometimes the only people we are fooling, turns out to be ourselves.

"…let us
strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us."
Hebrews 12:1

Before God does it for us!




Thursday, October 23, 2008

Being around you

Word came to Saul: "David is in Naioth at Ramah"; 20 so he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came upon Saul's men and they also prophesied. 21 Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time and they also prophesied. 1 Samuel 19:19-21

Saul wants David bad, he's trying to kill him, who would you send to capture David? It probably wouldn't have been the nicest guys in the room, right?

What happens? They encounter Samuel and the other prophets and the spirit of God comes over them, they act as if they are prophets.

I wonder what the report is that comes to Saul about his first "posse" sent to arrest David.

So he sends a second party to arrest David. I would venture to say that he chooses men who are not as inclined to be "spiritual" this time. The very same thing happens to them. Saul then sends a third party, only to have the same thing repeated again.

Have you ever been around someone who was so in tune with God that it took you somewhere spiritually? Just by being around them you could almost feel God's presence.

For many years I have taught that great leaders make other people feel great around them. But after reading this passage this morning, I'll probably change that to "great leaders make others feel the great I AM around them."

When people come into my life do they feel the presence of God?

They should, right? If I truly believe God's word, then I have to believe that I am just a container for the almighty God.

But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Romans 8:10-11

My prayer almost every morning these days is that there must "be less of me and more of You!" (John 3:30)

How about you? Do people feel the presence of God just by being around you?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

“Go to”

When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there.
1 Samuel 19:18

Who do you go to?

When you're running, stressed, can't take it anymore, who do you turn to? Do you have someone in your life that will speak truth to you?

David didn't turn to his friends or even his earthly father, but turned to his spiritual father, the prophet Samuel.

When running on empty is there someone you look to, to fill your tank, to refresh you. That's what Samuel
does for David.

Some say that David might have written this Psalm while he was with Samuel.

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
       whom shall I fear?
       The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
       of whom shall I be afraid?

 2 When evil men advance against me
       to devour my flesh,
       when my enemies and my foes attack me,
       they will stumble and fall.

 3 Though an army besiege me,
       my heart will not fear;
       though war break out against me,
       even then will I be confident.

 4 One thing I ask of the LORD,
       this is what I seek:
       that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
       all the days of my life,
       to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
       and to seek him in his temple.

 5 For in the day of trouble
       he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
       he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
       and set me high upon a rock.

 6 Then my head will be exalted
       above the enemies who surround me;
       at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
       I will sing and make music to the LORD.

 7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
       be merciful to me and answer me.

 8 My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
       Your face, LORD, I will seek.

 9 Do not hide your face from me,
       do not turn your servant away in anger;
       you have been my helper.
       Do not reject me or forsake me,
       O God my Savior.

 10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
       the LORD will receive me.

 11 Teach me your way, O LORD;
       lead me in a straight path
       because of my oppressors.

 12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
       for false witnesses rise up against me,
       breathing out violence.

 13 I am still confident of this:
       I will see the goodness of the LORD
       in the land of the living.

 14 Wait for the LORD;
       be strong and take heart
       and wait for the LORD.
Psalm 27

Do you have someone who will pour life into you?

If not, seek after them.

It's been my experience that God has already placed them in our lives, but sometimes fear stops us from going to them. Ask God to give you the courage to go to them.

Sometimes we are just unaware of their presence. Ask God
not to hide their face from you.

Will you be that for someone else?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Climb out

11 Saul sent men to David's house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David's wife, warned him, "If you don't run for your life tonight, tomorrow you'll be killed." 12 So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped. 13 Then Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats' hair at the head.

 14 When Saul sent the men to capture David, Michal said, "He is ill."

 15 Then Saul sent the men back to see David and told them, "Bring him up to me in his bed so that I may kill him." 16 But when the men entered, there was the idol in the bed, and at the head was some goats' hair.

 17 Saul said to Michal, "Why did you deceive me like this and send my enemy away so that he escaped?"
      Michal told him, "He said to me, 'Let me get away. Why should I kill you?' "
1 Sam 19:11-17

Where did your thoughts go when you read that passage?

Did you think of the daughter deceiving her father to save the one she loves?

Did you, like I, wonder what were they doing with an idol in their house? Really, an idol? Surely not, it's David a man after God's own heart, he wouldn't let that in his house. Maybe it was just one of those life size Santa's we all have. Hum, but it does say idol.

Here's where my thoughts landed; how many of God's men at one point in their lives had to run or escape, leave the comforts of home and family and set out on the lonely road of an outcast. Here's a few that came to mind Abraham (Gen 12), Joseph (Gen 37), Moses (Exodus 2), Elijah (1 Kings), I'm sure if I looked I'd find many more.

I was reminded that God will often use conflicts and difficulties to set us out to find the narrow path that few choose to follow. It is usually on that path that we find intimacy with God and the clarification or fulfillment of the call on our lives.

14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matt 7:14

Narrow literally means pressed together, restricted; do you feel pressed? Maybe God is trying to light your path by "pressing" you toward the window.

Will you be one of the few?

Go out through the window today, not the door.

Monday, October 20, 2008

They promised

7 So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before.

 8 Once more war broke out, and David went out and fought the Philistines. He struck them with such force that they fled before him.

 9 But an evil spirit from the LORD came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the harp, 10 Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape. 1 Samuel 19:7-10

"Man, I thought we were good. At least is seemed like it, they promised."

Been there?

It seemed like reconciliation for David too, Saul even swore before the Lord that David wouldn't be killed.

Here's the deal, because the root of Saul's sins were not dealt with, it was bound to spring up again, no matter how great his vow was. You think he might have learned his lesson by now about making a superficial vow to the Lord, but even with that he couldn't help himself.

Have you been there?

You've tried to change a behavior, but it keeps coming back? You even promised. You just can't seem to will your way through it and it eats at you, but you can't help it.

For Saul, I think it was the lies he kept buying into that ate at him.

They start to haunt him, "Why David and not me? Why is God always working through
him and not me anymore? Everyone is going to forget me and think David is the leader."

I think Saul is like many of us, we buy into the lies. Something in us tells us that it's not right, so we try to force our way through by trying to change our behavior. But that we can only do that for so long before the old
demons come back.

Zechariah 4:6 says, "'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord".

It's not going to happen by your will power. Lasting change will come only through repentance, which means changing your mind; and the only way for that to happen is to have it transformed by the Holy Spirit. Freedom comes from knowing and believing truth, lasting change comes from changing your beliefs.

"…be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2

Saul's change didn't last because he never dealt with truth. Saul kept pretending that everything was right
him and God, and it wasn't.

Are you trying to change other relationship before you change your relationship with God?

Believing that Christ
makes you right with God is the beginning…it's also the end.

Renewing is what Christ is great at!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Ever been stuck?

Not like in the mud, but stuck and not
knowing how to get out.

Imagine Jonathan's predicament, he's made a covenant with David, he loves him more than himself, they are needle and threaded together, but his father hates him and is attempting to kill him.

What would you do?

Oh, let's complicate things by reminding ourselves what Ephesians 1:3-4 says;

1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2"Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3"that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."

Ever been there?

Tough spot, huh?

What did Jonathan do?

1 Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan was very fond of David 2 and warned him, "My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there. 3 I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. I'll speak to him about you and will tell you what I find out." 1 Samuel 19:1-3

Jonathan did not allow his relationship with his father to jeopardize his spiritual relationship with God and with David. He spoke truth to David about his dad's hatred.

 4 Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, "Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. 5 He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The LORD won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?"

Jonathan is great example of how we should stand between God and other people in the ministry of reconciliation – reconciling people back to God and to each other.

Look at how Jonathan handled this:

He didn't flatter his father, nor did he insult him, he spoke the truth to his father about what he was doing wrong. Why is truth the hardest thing to speak to a love one?

He reminded Saul about the risk David took in fighting Goliath and how he was ready to die for Saul, that his motives weren't the throne or the rewards. When a relationship goes bad, don't we always question their motives?

He corrected the voices of others; the women had given credit to David or Saul, when it was the Lord who should have been given credit. Think about how many relationships are messed up by the voices of others!

He reminded him of his response before
others got
involved. Ever been there? At first you see the good in a relationship, but others come in and start pointing out the flaws, man, it can take a relationship south in a heartbeat!

Then he asked why. Jonathan carefully addressed the issues without getting emotional, asked the question and then he was silent.

Here's Saul's reply:

 6 Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: "As surely as the LORD lives, David will not be put to death."

So finally, he goes and speaks the whole truth to David and brings them back together.

 7 So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before.

There is so much in here about reconciling relationships, I would encourage you to spend some time thinking about the strategies employed by Jonathan and how they might help you reconcile a relationship.

Maybe you won't find yourself stuck!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Where is He?

Yesterday we focused on Saul's jealousy; today I want to look at David's response.

I think this is so important because I'm not sure we do a good job teaching about persecution and how to handle it. Jesus said that if they persecuted Him, they would persecute us and that we are promised persecution in the days ahead;

9"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, Matthew 24:9-10

Notice that it says we will, not might, be persecuted.

So how did David handle it?

I think it goes without saying the most important thing is that he walked daily in the presence of God.

Think about that, when you hear daily walk you probably think about your 15-30 minutes of daily prayer, quiet time, or devotional, right? And you think "check, I've got that covered". Something you do.

Let me reframe that for you, look at the word presence, do you walk in His presence all day long? That's the key.

That's hard. I was reminded just how hard that is to do in today's culture. We just spent an extended weekend in Orlando watching Drew play tennis and going to Disney.

Drew is at a level in his tennis that he is now playing the best of the best in Florida, which means some of the best players of his age in the nation. At this level it is very easy to make tennis your God and be consumed by it.

Then we go to Disney, nothing against Disney, but it sure is easy to make yourself a god there. I deserve this!

The whole weekend I was aware of how strong the drift, the pull away from the things of God are in our culture and how easy it is NOT to walk in His presence.

I am so grateful that God allows me to be in the lineage of the Levites, priest, or shepherds and I can, if I choose, focus on the things of God the majority of my day.

Because he walked in God's presence David did not become prideful. He heard the praises, but he was still content to show up for duty.

Because he walked in God's presence when attacked he didn't retaliate.

Because he walked in God's presence he wasn't ambitious and did not demand he be given the King's daughter as promised for killing Goliath.

Because he walked in God's presence he wasn't insulted and didn't rebel or cease to serve when Saul gave her another.

Because he walked in God's presence he didn't lose heart in the battle.

Conflicts and attacks are tools God uses to shape the character of His children. For David these conflicts and attacks lasted several years and took him to caves and deserts. But through it all he was being refined to be the king and a man after God's own heart.

It starts and ends with walking in His presence.

Not sure how to do that? The Bible says:

29 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. Deut 4:29-30

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


17 Saul said to David, "Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the LORD." For Saul said to himself, "I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!"

 18 But David said to Saul, "Who am I, and what is my family or my father's clan in Israel, that I should become the king's son-in-law?" 19 So [d] when the time came for Merab, Saul's daughter, to be given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah.

 20 Now Saul's daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased. 21 "I will give her to him," he thought, "so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him." So Saul said to David, "Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law."

 22 Then Saul ordered his attendants: "Speak to David privately and say, 'Look, the king is pleased with you, and his attendants all like you; now become his son-in-law.' "

 23 They repeated these words to David. But David said, "Do you think it is a small matter to become the king's son-in-law? I'm only a poor man and little known."

 24 When Saul's servants told him what David had said, 25 Saul replied, "Say to David, 'The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.' " Saul's plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines.

 26 When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king's son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed, 27 David and his men went out and killed two hundred Philistines. He brought their foreskins and presented the full number to the king so that he might become the king's son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.

 28 When Saul realized that the LORD was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, 29 Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.

 30 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success [e] than the rest of Saul's officers, and his name became well known. 1 Samuel 18:17-30

Saul's jealousy caused him to go after David with everything, even using his own daughters as bribes! You don't think jealousy will cause you to do crazy stuff, just read over this chapter again.

Just look at the deception in these verses:

Merab was already promised to David because of his defeat of Goliath, but David refused because he felt unworthy; Saul keeps pushing. "Okay, if you don't think you're good enough, I'll come at your pride by having her marry someone else. Let's see about your jealousy." Well that didn't work, got to find something else.

Saul finds out his other daughter Michal is in love with David and decides to use
her. How twisted is that? This is the man that just threw a javelin at David, right? Saul knows that there is nothing more intoxicating to a man than a woman full of praise and admiration; "
so let's use her."

"And if that's not enough to get him drunk on admiration, let's give him a double. Tell all the servants to go tell him 'HE'S THE MAN'".

Any guy would be feeling the effects right now; the pride tank would be over flowing!

David decides not to drink from this well, not yet at least, and his excuse gives Saul even more room for deception.

"Oh, David thinks he can't afford her, what an opportunity! I can get him killed on this one!"

Ever been there, you see everything as an opportunity to take your rival down?

You start focusing on them, looking for anything; I mean anything to take a shot at them. If you have, think about how tormented Saul's life was and how those around him sufferedSTOP IT! Not only are those around too precious, so are you to be headed down that path; it will only lead to a devastated life.

Wake up!

Friday, October 10, 2008

What about me

10 The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the harp, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand 11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, "I'll pin David to the wall." But David eluded him twice.
1 Samuel 18:10-11

Praise is a great test of the purity of your heart

Saul was so self centered that he couldn't handle anyone else getting praise.

Think about what happens in you when someone else is getting praise, do you want to shout "but look at me!"?

That jealousy, which turns into rage, eats at Saul until he died in battle.

16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3:16

Think about that verse, you will find disorder and EVERY evil practice. Man, I need to run from that! Think about that in Saul's life, he became reckless and so full of evil he was determined to kill David.

 12 Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had left Saul. 13 So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. 14 In everything he did he had great success, because the LORD was with him. 15 When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. 1 Samuel 18:12-15

If you are reading this I'm making an assumption that you are at least seeking what it means to follow God's will for your life. If you are, then take note of what might happen with those around you as you seek to live in the Lord's presence. The more Saul saw the Lord's presence with David, the more he feared him. Now you would think that as we learn to walk with God and we grow in our humility, integrity, and holiness others would admire and cheer us on. But not all some will grow envious, fearful and will attack you.

Notice how David didn't defend himself or attack back, he served, he did his duty.

Who are you in this story Saul or David?

Are you envious of the praise others are getting around you? Can you feel the jealousy? Thought about some crazy things to knock them off their pedestal?

Are you learning to walk in your faith and others are attacking you? Can you feel the jealousy of others?

Maybe you are a Saul in one relationship and a David in another.

Whoever you are "chew on" this passage to remind you what envy and jealousy can do to you, your relationships and your walk with God.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Friendship killers

6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes. 7 As they danced, they sang:
       "Saul has slain his thousands,
       and David his tens of thousands."

 8 Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. "They have credited David with tens of thousands," he thought, "but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?" 9 And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. 1 Samuel 18:4-9

Saul, the king of Israel, wants to kill David because he thinks he is a dangerous rival for the throne. Isn't that our nature, when we think something is about to be taken away from us? Jealousy will kill friendships.


1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:1-3

"You want something but don't get it"…what was it that Saul wanted? Was it David's victory over Goliath? Was it David's faith? Was it the fact that David was careful to give the glory to God? Was it David's humility and humble spirit? Was it David's care for the people of Israel? Was it the relationship with Jonathan? His popularity?

Think back to your friendships that are no longer, how many died because someone wanted something but couldn't get it?

Wow, I wonder how many times Saul questioned David's motives? I mean come on, wouldn't you? He wants something of mine…my throne, my son, my money, my fame.

How many of your friendships died because someone was afraid of losing something?

"…that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

At first, Saul is excited about David because of what David can do for him. Everything David does he seems to prosper, so Saul sees how he can use David to his benefit and promotes him to a full-time employee.

If you love things, you will use people. That's what Saul was doing with David. He was using him.

Ever felt used?

How many of your friendships died because someone felt used?

We should love people and use things!

Think about your current friendships; are they on "life support"?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Uncommon Love

And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. 1 Samuel 18:3-4

Jonathan removed his princely robe and placed it on David. He even gave David his sword, his bow and his belt. In other words, Jonathan willing laid aside the symbols of his position as the crown prince of Israel and gave them to David. When someone saw David on that day, they might have mistaken him for Jonathan. That is a picture of a love that involves personal, profound sacrifice. It is a picture of uncommon love!

Jonathan consistently placed David ahead of himself.

That is what a true friend always does!

Ever had a friend who cared more for your success than their own?

Jonathan's attitude was not something he inherited; it was the fruit from a personal encounter with God. His lifestyle reflects that of Christ, who took the form of a servant, who made himself nothing (Phil 2:1-8).

Such a lifestyle allows us to serve without jealousy and competition.

Think about it your desire to outshine your friends will destroy your relationship.

Even when it wasn't easy for this friendship between Jonathan and David to exist, it did. It existed and flourished because Jonathan refused to allow anything to sever the bond he has with David. When his soul was "knit" to the souls of David, it was bound to him for this life and eternity. The Bible also says that they made a "covenant" together, more than a mere promise. It was life and death guarantee. They bound themselves together for life with an oath. They swore to be friends to the end; and they both honored the covenant.

You don't see this kind of relationship very often, it seems strange to us, odd. Remember they could have it because it was a gift from God, whom they both worshipped and obeyed.

Along the way, there were hurdles that developed which could have derailed their relationship.

In spite of those problems, Jonathan loved David to the end. His love was totally unconditional!

Where do you find a friend like Jonathan? How do you become one?

Proverbs 18:24 says, "There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." David found such a friend. Oh, to have a friend like Jonathan. A friend who protects you (even from yourself), who seeks nothing but your interest, wants nothing but your happiness, who lets you be you. You feel safe with that person. God gave David such a friend and He's given them to me.

He gave you one as well. David found that friend in a prince; you can find a friend in the King.

Did you know He wants to make a covenant with you?

His final words "I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matt 28:20)


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

God’s gift

After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 1 Samuel 18:1

David was a man who was truly blessed by the Lord. I think if you were to ask David what his greatest blessing was, he would say his friendship with Jonathan. Jonathan was a true gift from God to young David. In fact, the very name "Jonathan" means "God's gift."

Ever had a friend who you thought was a true gift?

Jonathan loved David just as he was. Think about it! David was nobody from nowhere (shepherd boy, last one in line), but Jonathan saw something in little David that ignited love in his heart. He loved David just because he was David, and for no other reason!

Ever have someone love you for just being you?

The prince, who Jonathan was, loved the shepherd boy and his soul was "knit" with the soul of David. The word "knit" means "to tie, or to bind together", they were "needle and threaded together". There was nothing in David to cause this love to grow, yet it was there just the same.

Jonathan was strategically placed in David's life at the very time David needed a genuine friend. Jonathan proved to be the greatest and dearest friend that David would know in his entire life.

Think back over your friendship, was there someone who God placed in your life as a gift just when you needed them?

Jonathan not only saw David as a friend, but also as a man who would walk with God for many years. Their friendship was born in the presence of God and in the love of God; it stood the test of time. I've noticed in my walk with God He has placed significant friends in my life when He was asking me to take the next step in my journey. Taking that next step, sometimes means leaving the ones you love behind, I truly miss my "Jonathan's" I left back in Texas, But you really never leave those kinds of friends, they are with you where ever you go, at times you feel as if they are standing right next to you, you can hear their encouraging words, even if they are a thousand miles away.

God has brought new friends into my life, not to replace the others, you can't, but to walk alongside and encourage me in this next step.

Do you have a friend who you can speak openly about what God is doing in your heart? Who encourages you to be His child?

You see, as you pass through this life, you will make hundreds and even thousands of acquaintances; but you will have few real friends.

Who is needle and threaded to you?

Thank God for the gift they are!

Monday, October 6, 2008


55 As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, "Abner, whose son is that young man?"
      Abner replied, "As surely as you live, O king, I don't know."

 56 The king said, "Find out whose son this young man is."

 57 As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine's head.

 58 "Whose son are you, young man?" Saul asked him.
      David said, "I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem."
1 Samuel 17:55-58

Did that strike you as odd?

If you've been following along you'll remember that it was David who calmed Saul's heart by playing his harp. Why didn't he remember him?

As a leader I know the importance of noticing the people around me. Yesterday I was having a conversation with a guy named Danny, who is visiting our church, and we were talking about the large church he used to attend in a different state. I knew of the church and of its reputation, and here's probably why. He said that the Pastor met him briefly once in passing but about a year later as he was walking past the Pastor he said "hey Danny." He noticed. Great leaders and great churches don't treat people as commodities to be used. They see everyone as God's sacred creation and they notice.

Maybe Saul didn't notice because David was in his shepherd's clothes and not in his palace garb. Maybe he was seeing David in a "new light". This time he noticed.

Ever been there?

Those close to you are noticing the change in you? I've noticed that sometimes those God intends to use for His glory will be reintroduced to their close friends in a new light. I've noticed that some can handle the change, while others can't. But they notice a change.

If your life has been radically changed or God is up to something new in you and you're dying to say "I'm not who I was" (great song, by the way), take notice of David and be patient for His reveal.

Slow down today and notice the changes around you?

Are you the change?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Latest and Greatest

 45 David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands." 1 Samuel 17:45-47

I must confess I've looked for the swordthe latest and greatest.

Have you?

Think about that for a minute, when have you thought "if I just had __________ I'd be okay."

Don't we often look for something else other than God and our efforts to fight our battles?

If you're a ministry leader have you ever thought "if we just had __________ we'd reach more people."

Ok, understand that I'm not saying we don't use the latest technology. In fact, over the years we have been greatly criticized for being creative and using technology. My response has been "well if you don't want to use technology, let's turn off the A/C, they didn't have it in the first church either." Yeah, I was not
overly sensitive.

But here's my point, sometimes we put our faith in things
instead of God. We forget the power of God to draw all to himself and to use us to be his vessels.

David had a clear understanding of who would do the work: this day the Lord will hand you over to me. Goliath boasted about what he would do, David boasted about what the Lord would do.

David's motivation was purely for God and to restore confidence in the God of Israel.

If we rely only on the latest and greatest we are saying to the world God can't do it without these.

Instead of investing everything we have into things, shouldn't we invest our hearts and faith in a God who holds the stars in His mighty right hand?

Really, is there anything bigger than that?


Thursday, October 2, 2008


Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
1 Samuel 17:40

In yesterday's post I talked about how David ran confidently into battle because he knew the Lord would help him defeat Goliath.

Why then, did he need 5 stones if he was so confident? It only took one.

Goliath had 4 giant brothers; ever been in a fight with brothers?

Since the days of Goliath there have been giants, they stand and mock and keep people from living the life God intended.

There are still five Giants today that represent some of the world's biggest problems affecting billions, not just millions, of people. They are:

Spiritual Emptiness

Over 4.5 billion people in the world do not know Jesus Christ. Of these, 2 billion people have never even heard the Christian message.

Self-centered Leadership
Self-centered or corrupt leaders are abusing their power to serve themselves instead of using their power and influence for the good of those who need help the most.

Extreme Poverty
More than 8 million people around the world die every year due to extreme poverty related issues. Over 1 billion people live on less than 1 dollar a day.

Pandemic Diseases
Currently, 300 million people suffer from curable diseases; most of these are under the age of five. There are over 40 million people infected with HIV/AIDS resulting in 15 million children losing one or both parents.

Illiteracy & Lack of Education
Over 3 billion people, half of the world's population, are functionally illiterate.

These five global giants ravage the lives of billions of people worldwide and all work together to constrain them and cut them off from knowing the saving grace of a loving God who sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die for their sins allowing them eternal hope and security. There is no organization or government that can effectively eradicate these giants. The only successful solution is the global Church of Jesus Christ.

I am a part of the P.E.A.C.E. Plan, which is a massive effort to mobilize all Christians around the world into an outreach effort to attack the five global, evil giants of our day. Simply put, the P.E.A.C.E. Plan is about ordinary people, empowered by God, making a difference together wherever they are.

God has a history of calling average men and women into his service. This is demonstrated over and over again in Scripture.

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world's eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful." 1 Corinthians 1:26-27

The P.E.A.C.E. Plan is profoundly simple. P.E.A.C.E. is about every member of your church being on mission and in community/small groups of believers doing just what Jesus did:

Plant Churches …to address the giant of spiritual emptiness

Jesus is the antidote for spiritual blindness.

"Jesus said to the people, 'I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life." John 8:12

Equip Servant Leaders … to address the giant of corrupt leadership

Jesus called out and mentored leaderless people.

"Jesus call out to them, 'Come, be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people!" Mark 1:17

Assist the Poor … to address the giant of extreme poverty

Jesus identified with people of poverty.

"You know how full of love and kindness our Lord Jesus Christ was. Though he was very rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich." 2 Corinthians 8:9

Care for the Sick … to address the giant of pandemic diseases and care for those who suffer from them

Jesus restored health to people with sickness or disease.

"He healed people who had every kind of sickness and disease. News about him spread far beyond the borders of Galilee so that the sick were soon coming to be healed from as far away as Syria. And whatever their illness and pain, or if they were possessed by demons, or were epileptics, or were paralyzed – he healed them all."
Matt 4:23-24

Educate the Next Generation … to address the giant of illiteracy and lack of education

Jesus taught people who lacked understanding.

"After Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught as one who had real authority- quite unlike the teachers of religious law." Matt 7:28-29

David believed God was who He said He was and that the battle was His, so he picked up the stones that would take down the giants.

Will you?