A little Devotional worth sharing

1 Samuel 15-17 & Psalm 85
By: Marthalee Lyman

We can only do our best with the information, skill and drive we possess at any given moment. Yet, we seem to always second guess our motives, authority and delivery; undermining self-confidence. When added to this inner monologue of supposed failure we find actual failure and deep disappointment, the result is abject depression and mourning.

In the reading today, Samuel’s broken heart stirs me. Samuel, called by God as a very young child, walks in confidence as God’s prophet for many years. He listens to God and obeys every command. His life as a prophet is well known and many in his sphere of influence look to him with respect and admiration. He has a great position of honor both with God and man.

Saul’s disobedience and subsequent demotion as king breaks the heart of Samuel. He mourns deeply and continually for the failure of this God-appointed man. In his grief, there had to be moments of personal reflection wondering where HE had failed Saul, or what HE might have done differently to bring about a better outcome.

Samuel brutally kills Agag to fulfill the command of God King Saul failed to accomplish. Samuel goes to Ramah, his home and continues his mourning. Then, (I like how the NLT shows us) God shakes Samuel with these words: “You have mourned long enough for Saul…” Get on with your duties! And Samuel sets off to anoint David as the new King.

We all second guess ourselves from time to time. “If only I had not spoken so harshly…If only I had not done that certain thing…It would have been better if I was not even there!” Oh, how the enemy and our own mental monologues condemn us! We need God to shake us! We need to listen to God as he does shake us and tell us to be about the business at hand!

When disappointment and failure dog our steps, there needs to be a resolve inside that stops the mental condemnation, silences the daily accuser and leans into the quiet whisper of the still small voice of God pressing us onward. Obey like Samuel and get on with life!

Had the prophet remained in Ramah licking his wounds, so to speak, would there be a story of Goliath? If Samuel remained in mourning, would we even have a David? You see, God really depends on the obedience of his chosen to move His plans to completion.

To simply throw up our hands and proclaim, “It’s ok, God’s Got This!” is not a statement of Faith, but of cowardice. It is up to us to make our calling and election sure. We are commanded to go…to make disciples…to spread the Gospel. We cannot remain silent in the face of suffering and sorrow. We MUST pray. We MUST listen and we must hear God’s voice and we MUST follow his lead.

How do we know we are headed in the right direction? We move forward and watch for God’s STOP signs. That is the walk of Faith. When God speaks, sometimes he only gives us a sentence or two, seldom the whole picture. He may nudge us one way; a way that seems so out of our comfort zone; but when we obey and trust him, we see, in retrospect, his guiding hand.

David was so deeply incensed at the challenge from Goliath that he moved toward him in the confidence and trust of his victorious God. That is how we conquer the Goliaths in our lives. Sometimes righteous indignation can spur us on to radical Faith and obedient action. Watch for the nudges from Him, then watch for the stop signs, too.

Psalm 85: 8-9 (NLT) I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people. But let them not return to their foolish ways. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, so our land will be filled with his glory.

P.S. So I have a brief post script to my devotional… After typing it today and thinking about the admonition to go forth and follow the leading of the Lord, I went to the grocery store. Nothing very eventful happened until I got in my car to leave … started my engine and suddenly there is a powerhouse 20’s some thing young lady standing outside my passenger window. So I put down the window and she asks me if I have a sore foot. I say, “No it’s my hip.” She said, “Well, the Lord told me to come and pray for you.” How about that! So we grab hands and begin to pray. She stops me and said “No, just receive. Don’t pray, just receive.” She proceeded to ask the Lord to not only heal my hip but also my left knee! We have this marvelous time in the Holy Ghost give each other a high-5 and off she goes.

So there I sit in absolute amazement at how God not only speaks but shows just how he wants it done and I’m claiming total healing in Jesus name! So because of one obedient servant, I see manifested the duty of us all!

Motivation

Purposeful living! This is the challenge at any age. Really, one would think with age and maturity come focus and purposeful use of time. Afterall, mature people seldom procrastinate or stop short of task completion, right? How I wish that were true! Excuses abound it seems and perhaps as we ‘mature’ we simply allow more elaborate excuses and justifications for inactivity.

This may seem like a rambling stream of conscience writing, but now it will be clearer. Since my husband left for Glory, I have used the grief process as an excuse for inactivity on many levels. Even during the justification process in my head i knew i was using grief as the excuse to not write, not exercise, not study, etc.

Some days were a huge success because laundry was folded and dishes done. Yet, the weightier matters were pushed ahead to a more convenient time. (I think of Felix in Acts 24 who, though trembling, sent away the Apostle Paul until a ‘convenient season.’) Oh my, dear Jesus, never let me become like Felix or Agrippa!

Now, three years after his departure, I come face to face with a personal weakness. Procrastination! Therefore, in order to form a more perfect me, and in order to live ‘on purpose,’ steps will be ordered in God’s Word and prayer made daily for growth in this area of weakness.

The first step, taken today actually, is the completion of a much delinquent blog post on this website. So, here it is! And you, dear reader get to witness the turning of a page in the grief process as I move into a new level of success and obedience by writing these thoughts to you.

Thank you for reading this, and mention me from time to time in your prayers if you remember.

THE SPIRIT OF MAN

The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord. It shows all the inside parts of his heart.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
The heart is fooled more than anything else and is very sinful. Who can know how bad it is?

Above are two translations of two verses. The summation: God watches us, he alone knows our motives and he uses our own spirits to see clearly into our innermost being; our heart. So what?
So here is a little wisdom for us; a little trick of sorts to help keep us on track.

WATCH YOUR OWN SPIRIT! Whatever is in the heart will find its way to the surface one way or another.
When a certain person’s name or a certain situation comes up in conversation, does your breath catch? Do you feel a little tightening in your core? Do you switch your gaze away from the speaker, or decide to change the subject or leave the room? Do you feel rage or fear or sadness or jealousy bubbling inside so that you are a little frightened about your own response? Do your defense mechanisms of fight or flight begin to overtake your calm exterior? Does your body language change?
If you know what I am talking about, you have experienced this. There are two reasons this happens to us. Either we have not fully forgiven (a process we will address in a moment,) or…we are still unequally tied to this person or situation and God is trying to separate us from it.

Two heavy oxen were yoked together to plow a field. The yoke between them was made of two RIGID circles that fit around the neck and then held together by a RIGID bond between the circles. Those oxen had to have the same destination; the end of the row. If one of them wanted to return to the crib for a meal, or to tend to a baby, the poor farmer (the Lord) was completely stopped in his progress because those beasts were not pulling in the same direction. They had different goals, different destinations.

They were UNEQUALLY YOKED.

Be ye NOT unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14.

Call occasionally to check up on the person if they are family, but if the destinations are radically different; i.e. heaven or hell, avoid entanglement in matters of finance, emotional exchanges or weighty matters. You can still be a friend, but if your spirit reveals to you AND TO THE LORD, any snag or unfinished turmoil, please rethink and redirect that spirit in prayer and take action to unyoke if necessary.

If unforgiveness is the issue, you must remember that forgiveness is a process, not a one-time decision. If you still feel that quickening at the mention of a person or situation and you are pretty sure you forgave it a while back, you aren’t finished yet with this process. It is time to really seek God and pray that person or situation gets blessed. Pray that God will not take vengeance; that he will shed mercy on those who hurt you and redeem them by his forgiveness. Try to really ‘get into their head,’ so to speak. Try in prayer to see the situation through the eyes of your adversary and then truly forgive from your deepest heart.

Let your spirit soften and allow God to pick up that flashlight and really look around to find any other place that needs a good prayer purge. Watch your own spirit very carefully and by this little exercise, you will walk in true victory and faith. God is watching, and this inner work will assure your worthiness to escape all that is coming upon this wicked world. Repent for your unforgiveness and do a quick work on the decisions in your life that will free you to fully serve God. Take on the yoke of Jesus, for his burden is light and you have the same destination.

Something Died Under My Deck

At first the smell seemed to come from my neighbors’ yard. Perhaps they spread some manure fertilizer. It will be gone soon.

Surely the smell will blow away in this nice summer wind. The next day, however, it intensified. No amount of free wind would clear the stench. Today, sure enough, the smell of rotten varmint pervades the atmosphere in a twelve-foot radius right around my back door.

The problem is complicated by the structure of the deck. Most of it is unreachable, blocked off by stairs and supports all around the perimeter. No human will go in there to remove the poor dead thing, so the putrid smell remains.

This deck is my haven of rest these days of fair weather, but not now. The smell of something rotting disturbs my peace and forces me to make other arrangements to avoid the assault on my olfactory senses.

Unrepented sin and roots of bitterness left in the heart are, perhaps, a stench in the nostrils of Jesus. When he would like to rest and fellowship with us, is he forced to endure the smell of our bitterness, unforgiveness and lack of repentance? Or does he make other arrangements?

What do we do with this? Blame it on the neighbors? Ignore the issues hoping the wind will blow away the constant reminder? Maybe another wonderful move of the Holy Ghost and a good shouting service will clear the air. The next day, however, the stench is still here. We might try to cover the smell with a variety of man-made solutions; and we make sure the windows and doors are closed to keep it contained.

We may even construct walls and reasons to keep others away, so they won’t smell the rotten evidence. Maybe our life is complicated by the structure we have built in our effort to control and silence the voice of our smelly conscience. Maybe no human can penetrate our supports as we keep relationships on the surface. But has something crawled up inside us and died?

Have we pushed back from our couch of prayer too early? Has the level of our personal repentance grown shallow and stagnant in the marches of indifference? Is that root of bitterness lurking below the surface waiting for a little fertilizer of anger or fear so it can spring up and defile?

Something did die under my deck, and the smell is horrible. Yet, as this experience presses me to a deeper level of repentance and forgiveness, I share these musings with you, dear readers, hoping to quicken your ready minds to a careful analysis of personal progress in prayer and relationship with Jesus; as it has for me.

The expanse of our Revival is directly proportionate to the depth of our Repentance.

 ‘Repent’ is found 10 times in the book of Acts

Acts 2:38

Acts 3:19

Acts 17:30

AND 10 times in the book of Revelation

Revelation 2:5,16

Revelation 3:3,19

And please see … Hebrews 12:14-15

Essential OIL needed in our Lamps!