Thursday, September 29, 2011

Devotion Thoughts - 28/05/2011

2 Samuel 13:1-39
Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab... a very subtle man (v.3).
In many situations where an answer is sought, there are those who can think up what are thought of as good solutions. Jonadab was such a man; he suggested a plan for Amnon. However, his plan was not from God and had an unhappy outcome.
We must always look to God for guidance when the way forward seems unclear.
John 17:1-26
As Jesus prayed He lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You in return (v.1) I don't pray that You should take [My disciples] out of the world, but that You should keep them from evil (v.15). Nor do I pray for [My disciples] only, but also for those who will believe in me through their witness (v.20).
Jesus was serious in His praying for His disciples, and for the spiritual descendants who came to Christ through them, right down to today's Believers. There are many powerful thoughts in this chapter, of which I have selected three:
1. The glory that Jesus was looking forward to was not just what He would have once back in heaven, but included the opportunity to go to the cross in obedience to His Father's desire to make a way of salvation for mankind (v.1). (Wow, Lord!)
2. In the world evil abounds, but Believers will only grow spiritually by staying in the world and overcoming evil with the Father's help, just as Jesus did (v.15).
3. We Believers must be eternally thankful that Jesus thought about us, too, when He prayed (v.20).
Psalm 119:81-96
O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven for ever (v.89). I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have made me alive (v.93).
Jesus said heaven and earth would pass away but not His word (Luke 21:33). The psalmist was inspired to have realised that God's spoken words are far more permanent than the somewhat solid-looking universe we inhabit! Let us heed the word of Jesus as we have them in the New Testament.
Proverbs 16:6,7
(v.6) By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil. (v.7) When a man's ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Just for a change I am using the Good News Bible for their rendering of these two verses. I have often made good use of this translation. Anyone who wants to really get to grips with what the Bible is about will find this translation easy reading, much like a novel. If you have the time, reading through in a week will jumpstart your Bible knowledge!
v. 6. Be loyal and faithful, and God will forgive your sin. Obey the LORD and nothing evil will happen to you.
v.7. When you please the LORD, you can make your enemies into friends.

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Devotion Thoughts - 27/05/2011

2 Samuel 12:1-31

Nathan said to David, You are the one! 2Sa 12:7 Why did you despise the Lord's commandment by doing evil [committing murder]? (v.9)You did it secretly, but I will expose it to the whole world (v.12). David confessed to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD" (v.13).

David did not see the trap until Nathan pointed out that he was the guilty one. Those who believe that they have successfully covered up their sin are mistaken; God always sees what we do. When he realised he had been found out, David acknowledged his sin and was forgiven.
Either our sin is revealed when we ask forgiveness of Jesus and see all our sins washed away, or (for unbelievers), make no confession and have every sin revealed at the Judgment. Thankfully, for Believers, our confessed sins have been forgiven, wiped away, and forgotten by God forever.

John 16:1-33

The Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and believed that I came out from God (v.27). {My paraphrase}.

It must have been a mind-boggling experience for the disciples to realise - and believe - that Jesus had come from God to them. But that is just the start. One day we will know and enjoy all the blessings that God has prepared for us. And because He loves us we can expect to be richly blessed by the Father!

In the meantime, Believer, enjoy His indwelling presence in your heart!

Proverbs 16:4-5

v.4. The LORD made all things for himself, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Although Believers go through trials, they will never ever face the punishment that will be the lot of the unsaved in eternity. Part of that punishment will be everlasting separation from loving God. He made everything for Himself, so is not pleased with Satan and His followers and all unsaved people who have chosen to ignore God's right to their worship of Him. They will get their hearts' desire in that they will not be living with Him in heaven!

v.5. Every one who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD ... he shall not be unpunished.

God is love and wants to love us at all times. But the proud are so because they think they are superior, and so will not be the recipients of His love. This verse does not say that all proud people will be cast away; if they realise they have angered God, they have the opportunity to humble themselves before Him, and be eligible for a place in His Kingdom.

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Devotion Thoughts - 26/05/2011

2 Samuel 9:1-13

David asked if there were any of Saul's family left so that he could show kindness to them for Jonathan's sake (v.1). {My paraphrase}.

Having promised Jonathan that he would show kindness to his descendants (1 Samuel 20:14,42), David did so once he was established in his kingdom. He was a man who kept his promises, which is according to God's description of him as 'a man after my own heart'. God expects us to keep the promises we make in life.

2 Samuel 10:1-19

David went to meet [his envoys] for they felt greatly ashamed of their treatment, and he told them to remain in Jericho until their beards had grown and they felt comfortable about returning home (v.5).

This is another incident that confirms that David was a thoughtful man. Having been embarrassed by their treatment at the hands of the Ammonites, David went personally to comfort them, and told them to stay in Jericho until they were ready to return home. It was this sort of conduct that made David popular with his people.

2 Samuel 11:1-27

When the mourning period was over, David sent for [Bathsheba]. She became his wife, and bare him a son. But what he had done displeased the LORD (v.27).

What a blemish on David's character! We have been reading about David being a man of his word and very thoughtful of others. Now, however, we find him concealing his adultery by arranging for the murder of the husband! Of course God was displeased, and was not going to allow David to get away with it.

We all commit sin! Fortunately our wonderful God does not write us off or stop using us for His service. However, sin always has consequences. The son born to David and Bathsheba from the adulterous relationship died, as God had said he would. But we can be encouraged in that God did not hold their sin against them forever. After losing the son born of their adultery, their next son, Solomon, became king, even though he was not the oldest of David's sons.

Psalm 119:49-64

Remember Your word to me, Your servant, by which You caused me to hope. It comforts me in my affliction, for that word from You inspired me (vv.49,50).

When God called me into full-time ministry He did so by using certain verses of Scripture. Through the years those verses have kept me on track, helping me to remember that I am a servant of the Lord. At times when I have not seen the purpose in some of the things that happened in my life, those verses assured me that God would work things out in my life; all I had to do was be a faithful servant.
If God has given you messages of hope, trust them. Like a spiritual life belt, they will keep you afloat until the Lord lifts you out of the stormy waves of doubt and confusion.

Proverbs 16:1-3

Commit your works to the LORD, then what you have envisioned will happen (v.3). {My paraphrase}.

First, the Lord lays on our hearts certain things He wants us to do. We spend time praying over them, and getting some clarity about how they can become reality. The next stage is to let the Lord know that you are ready to proceed, and how you plan to proceed, and pray for Him for the means to complete the thing planned. God then makes it become a reality.
It really is that simple, but sometimes our faith is tested while we wait for God to act!

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Devotion Thoughts - 25/05/2011

2 Samuel 7:1-29

Nathan said to the king, Go, do everything that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you (v.3). [But] that night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying (v.4), "Tell David, when you die I will set up one of your sons (v.12), who shall build a house for my name, and I will establish his throne for your descendants forever" (v.13). David's response was ..."O Lord God, please do as You say and establish my descendants on the throne of Israel forever" (v.25). {My paraphrase}.

The fulfilment of the prophecies is one of the reasons I believe the Bible to be the Word of God. In this chapter, relating to events some 1000 years before the birth of Jesus, Nathan the prophet has a knee-jerk reaction, much like Believers, most of the time! Without first asking God for guidance, he assumes that God is happy with David and will bless everything he does, and tells David to go ahead and build the house for God. But God has other plans which He reveals to Nathan. He tells David that his descendants will sit on Israel's throne forever.

Until taken away into captivity in Babylon, the kings of Judah were descendants of David, the shepherd boy from Bethlehem. And because the genealogical records of the Jews were destroyed in 70 AD when Titus sacked Jerusalem, Jesus is the last known descendant of king David! His genealogical records are written in the New Testament. Yes, there is a break in that Israel do not presently have a visible king, but Jesus has been alive all along (except for three days after Calvary), and He is going to sit on David's throne ...forever! When He, the One appointed to be King of kings and Lord of lords, returns He will not only rule Israel but all mankind ... forever!

2 Samuel 8:1-18

The LORD protected David, and gave him victory everywhere (v.14).

Strengthened and supported by God, David was unstoppable, gaining victories over all enemies along his borders. God did this so that when Solomon came to the throne there would be peace in the land, allowing him the opportunity to build the Temple.

Know this: When God has work for us to do He always prepares the way for us. So if we are facing difficulties it is because it is part of God's preparations for whatever He would have us do.

John 14:15-31

If you love me, keep my commandments (v.15).

Many claim to be in fellowship with Jesus but do not love their neighbour (Matthew 19:19), that is, they do not keep this particular command. According to Jesus, it means that they do not love Him. There are other commandments that Believers (yes, Believers) struggle to obey. Fortunately, because of His great love for us, Jesus is not going to summarily stop having fellowship with us. He will, thankfully, continue to help us to grow spiritually. But if we are to keep His commandments we must be prepared for a daily surrender of our will to Him and a commitment to ongoing spiritual growth. If we do, holiness is bound to grow in us.

Psalm 119:33-48

LORD, teach me Your statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end (v.33).

There is no way of knowing what God wants of us if we don't spend time every day reading our Bibles to find that out!

Proverbs 15:33

Through fearing the LORD we will want instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility (v.33).

Through (a healthy) fear and respect for God we seek to learn about Him so that we can please Him. Once we learn to obey God's word we will be able to instruct others.

We must be humble enough to be led by others before we can lead others well.

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Devotion Thoughts - 24/05/2011

2 Samuel 4:1-12, 2Samuel 5:1-25

David ... became powerful, for the LORD God of hosts was with him (v.10) ... and realised that the LORD had established him king over Israel and exalted his kingdom for his people Israel's sake (v.12). David asked the LORD, "Shall I go up to the Philistines? will You deliver them into my hand? And the LORD said to David, Go up: for I will certainly deliver the Philistines into your hand" (v.19). David did as the LORD had commanded him; and defeated the Philistines (v.25). (My paraphrase).

Here's a clear outline of what spiritual progression should be in the life of a Believer.
v.10: On becoming a born again Believer you are aware that you are in God's powerful hands.
v.12: You realise that your life now has purpose: to bring blessing to others through service for God .
v.19: No reliance on self; only total reliance on God for direction in life. (Remember Peter? He was self-confident until he denied Jesus. We all have to learn this. John 13:37,38).
v.25: Obedience to God's will for your life as revealed in His Word and through wise guidance will bring about victorious living.

2 Samuel 6:1-23

David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of musical instruments made of fir wood, on harps, psalteries, timbrels, cornets, and cymbals (v.5)

David danced before the LORD with all his might (v.14)

Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death (v.23).

If we keep in mind that one day all the trials of life will be over and we will be rejoicing in the presence of God forever, we will find it easier to rejoice right now. Praise Him in every way that you can, particularly with music. Follow the advice given in Psalm 150 and 1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice evermore; v.17 Pray without ceasing; v.18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

John 13:31-38

A new commandment I give you, Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also must love one another (v.34), for if you have love one for another all men shall know that you are my disciples (v.35). {My paraphrase}.

The command is simple enough to understand, but a huge ask when it comes to putting into practice. (Surely it is not only me that has discovered this?) If we get it right, people will take notice and will be born again without a word said! Actions do speak louder than words; let us not just talk the talk, but walk the walk! If you are struggling with this one don't give up wanting to get it right; keep going, while letting the Holy Spirit guide you into complete submission to God's will in every aspect of your life. There is no other way to get this right, and you will probably still be busy with it when Christ returns!

John 14:1-14

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father except by me" (v.6).

Again, the statement is simple enough for a child to understand, but those who want to find 'easier' ways to God have problems with it. Jesus preached very simply and in words easily understood, yet professors have problems with what He has said. Don't violate the clear meaning which is that you will never live in the presence of God if you try to get there by any way other than Jesus. Hoping to reach God via ancestors, good works, religious practices, singing spiritual songs, and even doing miracles, will not work.

Psalm 119:17-32

Open my eyes [understanding] that I may discover wondrous things in Your law (v.18).

We must approach God in an attitude of adoration and worship before we make any requests. In the words of Psa 19:14 - "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer". Once we have God's attention expect Him to hear us!

Proverbs 15:31-32

The ear that hears the reproof of life abides among the wise (v. 31).

He that refuses instruction despises his own soul: but he that hears reproof gets understanding (v. 32).

One day there will be the Judgment, and judgment on us will depend upon if we have wanted to enjoy God's favour or not. That, in turn, hinges on the degree to which we take care of our spiritual life. It is true that we need God's guidance in life, but there is one matter that is in our hands and not God's, and that is what we do with our lives. If we want total blessing from God we must be totally yielded to Him, a decision only we can make.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bible Poetry: Proverbs 15:29-30

v.29. The LORD is far from the wicked: but He hears the prayer of the righteous.
The sins of the wicked keep them far from the Lord;
He won't hear their prayers; that's what we read in His Word.
For those who live for Him, lifting up His name on high,
will know their prayers are heard be it now or by and bye.

v.30. The light of the eyes rejoices the heart: and a good report makes the bones fat.
When someone smiles at you in love
it seems like sunshine from above;
and when there is good news to tell
it makes you feel that 'all is well'.

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Devotion Thoughts - 23/05/2011

2 Samuel 2:12-32. 2 Samuel 3:1-39

When Joab came from David, he sent messengers after Abner ... but David did not know it (v. 3:26).

When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab ... stabbed him to death (v.3:27).

The king lamented over Abner, and said, "Why did Abner have to die like a fool?" (v.3:33).

Joab played up a lot on the fact that he and David were cousins. The death of Abner was uncalled for, hence David's lament over him. After Joab killed Abner, David, not knowing what to do about him, gave his son and successor, Solomon, instructions to deal with Joab, which he did by having him killed (1 Kings 2:5,6,32-34).

It is helpful to have a 'friend in court', but we should never take advantage of the relationship in order to settle scores against others. Joab was underhanded; Abner not.

In spite of his senior status, Joab died ignominiously, while Abner was given a 'state' funeral with the king lamenting his death. When believers die, the King of kings Himself notices and is moved (Psalm 116:15)! Hallelujah!

John 13:1-30

After [Judas] received the sop [from Jesus], Satan entered into him (v.27).

Amongst the things I cannot understand is why anyone worships Satan. He can't - and won't - do them any good. His track record is poor for he has no real power. God, and God alone, is Omnipotent. What's more, He is omnipresent, being everywhere in the universe simultaneously. Satan, like humans, can only be in one place at any time. Accepting the sop was an act of treachery by Judas against Jesus personally, which is why Satan was allowed to enter him.

Believers must always remember that all power belongs to Jesus (Matthew 28:18), so if we feel under pressure from any of Satan's demons (for Satan is busy attacking someone else somewhere in the world!) we can ask God for His all-powerful help.

Psalm 119:1-16

Your Word is stored in my heart, so that I won't not sin against [God] (v.11).

It is not just once that we memorise or learn God's word; it is an ongoing process until we die or the Lord comes for us (v.17). That is because God's word sanctifies us as we 'chew on it', effectively causing us to grow in holiness day by day as we study and absorb it.

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Devotion Thoughts - 22/05/2011

2 Samuel 1:1-27

David said to [the Amalekite], 'Your blood be upon your own head, for with your mouth you have spoken against yourself, saying, "I have slain the LORD'S anointed."' (v.16).

Saul actually killed himself, so the young Amalekite lied when he said he had killed Saul. Trying to create a good impression by telling lies can be counterproductive. The Amalekite did not realise how important God's anointing was to David. By claiming that he killed Saul, God's anointed, he signed his own death warrant. God will never bless anything that has its foundation in lies.

2 Samuel 2:1-11

David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead, saying, "The Lord bless you for the kindness you showed in burying Saul" (v.5).

David exhibited good leadership qualities by seeking guidance from the Lord, and by showing appreciation to the men of Jabesh Gilead. At great risk, they had removed the bodies of Saul and his sons from off the walls of Bethshan and buried them in Jabesh. No doubt David also had in mind the respect with which they treated the body of one of God's anointed people.

We should never be too busy to show appreciation to those whom we have seen rendering a good service, whether to us or to others. Seek guidance from God and He will not only teach us how to show appreciation: He will also create opportunities for us to do so.

John 12:20-50

"Sir, we would see Jesus" (v.21). "I tell you the truth: Unless a corn of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it survives alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit" (v.24).

How do they see Jesus now? In us!

How do we bear fruit? By dying to self!

What is 'fruit'? Generally speaking: for evangelists it is the response of those seeking salvation; for pastors it is the numerical and spiritual growth evident in his congregation; for all believers, it is to grow closer to the Lord in their walk with Him.

Psalm 118:19-29

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it (v.24).

What have you done with today? Well, you have either made the most of it and sought His presence, worshipped Him, drawn closer to Him, and rejoiced; or you have not. Believe it or not, the day has turned out the way you planned it! When you woke up this morning you were either going to 'seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness' or your thoughts were on how to handle the problems that the day would bring. If you were focused on the problems then you would have had little time and thought for God, and missed out on some great fellowship. But if you sought Him out as soon as you woke up you would not only have had great fellowship with Him, but He would also have put your problems into perspective and helped you to sort them out!

Take your pick!

Proverbs 15:27-28

v.27 He that is greedy for corrupt gain brings problems to his family; but those who reject bribes shall live (v.27). (My paraphrase).

Accepting bribes is not a good idea. If discovered the results can be disastrous for the family and cause stress and resultant health problems for all concerned. Rather choose to be honest, then health will not be affected.

God's word says, "Don't steal" if you would live well,
and not tread a roadway that leads down to Hell!

v. 28 The righteous give careful, thoughtful answers, but the wicked choose to speak evil. (My paraphrase).

Have you noticed that people who use profanity (vituperation) are so used to conversational filth that they think it is normal and mature? Sadly, both men and women are guilty. Believers should always "be holy in all manner of conversation" (1Peter 1:15) and think carefully before speaking, choosing words that build their hearers up.

The thoughts of the wicked are loathed by the Lord,
for they do not honour His Word;
but words that are spoken by those who are pure
are words that forever endure.

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Devotion Thoughts - 21/05/2011

1 Samuel 29:1-11

Achish called David, and said to him, " You have been honest and upright ... in my sight, for I have found no wrong in you since the day you came to me up to today; however, the Philistine princes don't want you around" (v.29:6).

By wiping out the entire population in the Philistine towns he had attacked, David had successfully hidden his subterfuge from Achish. Nevertheless, while it is possible to hide some of our wrongdoing from some people, at least for some time, no one can hide their smallest action from an all-seeing God. It is far better to see God as a partner in life and to invite Him to help us live holy lives.

1 Samuel 30:1-31

David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and his two wives. Nothing was lost: wives, children, servants, goods... David recovered everything that the Amalekites had taken (vv.30:18,19). (My paraphrase).

David is given a taste of his own deeds. When he and his men returned to their home, Ziklag, they found it had been attacked, and their wives, children and property taken away. They could imagine the worst: that their families would either be sold as slaves or be killed. But David knew his God was mighty, and so he asked for guidance. On the strength of the encouraging words from God, David chased after his lost people and property. Because God was in control, all the wives, children, servants and goods were recovered. This, again, demonstrates God's mighty ability to take care of His saints! What a mighty God we serve! Hallelujah!

1 Samuel 31:1-13

The Philistines fought hard against Saul and his sons, and slew Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua, Saul's sons. Saul and his three sons, his armour bearer and all his men, died that same day (v.31:2,6) (My paraphrase).

How different things were for Saul now that he did not have God's support! Instead of God giving them the victory, Saul and his sons were killed. But God was still looking after David and his men.
Just because one part of the Christian Church is losing the spiritual battles does not mean that the whole church was losing. But we need to continue to seek God's will and obey Him wholeheartedly, then He will give us victory.

John 11:54-57. John 12:1-19

Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went away to a city called Ephraim close by a wilderness, and remained there with his disciples (v.11:54).

There was not an ounce of fear in Jesus; He was ready to face the worst challenge any man can be called on to bear: accepting death on the cross. But God has a time and place for everything. The appointed time for Jesus to be crucified was significant in that when He was to die on the cross, simultaneously the Paschal lamb would be slain in Jewish households. The crucifixion would lose something of the impact of its message if the crucifixion were to take place earlier, or even later. But God is always in control, and Jesus was crucified when the time was right.

Just so for Believers. God is in control of our lives, and everything that must happen in our lives will happen when God wants it to happen, whether our release from a trial, or the receiving of some good thing. In order to create the greatest impact, God is never too late or too early.

Psalm 118:1-18

The LORD is my strength, my song, and my salvation (v.14). (My paraphrase).

I enjoy that alliteration: strength, song, salvation!

Strong men can rejoice in that they do not have to rely on their own strength to face the challenges of life but can lean on Jesus for support; during those times when we are struggling to sing songs of praise Jesus will sing them for us; and for those who know they are sinners unworthy of living in God's kingdom it is wonderful to know that Jesus has prepared Himself to carry our every sin away, cleanse us, and make us worthy of the salvation He bought for us on the cross at such great cost to Himself, a salvation we can have for free!

Believers can confidently say: He is mine!

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The Lord is my strength, my song and my salvation!

The strongest man has not the strength
to withstand Satan's harsh attacks,
but Satan will give up at length
for Jesus has the power he lacks!

When songs no longer fill our hearts,
and praising something hard to do,
then that's when Jesus power imparts
to fill our hearts with songs anew.

But best of all, for those who sought
to free themselves from sin and shame
our Jesus on the cross has bought
salvation in His holy Name!

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Bible Poetry: Proverbs 15:24-26

v.24 The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.
The way to good life is the heavenly road;
the wise on that highway would tread
that they might escape from that dreaded abode
called hell, which is home to the dead.

v.25. The LORD will destroy the house of the proud but establish the home of the widow.
The Lord will destroy the house of the proud
for they do not honour His Name;
but He has a home for those in the crowd
who serve Him with no thought of fame.

v.26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.
The thoughts of the wicked are loathed by the Lord,
for they do not honour His Word;
but words that are spoken by those who are pure
are words that forever endure.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Devotion Thoughts - 20/05/2011

1 Samuel 26:1-25

David said to Abishai, "Don't harm him. No one can touch the Lord's anointed and be guiltless" (v.9). "The LORD forbid that I should harm His anointed, but take his spear and flask of water, and let us go" (v.11). (My paraphrase).

I believe that every saint of God, that is, every one who has received cleansing from sin by having them washed away in the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, has been anointed by having the presence of Almighty God in his heart. It is true that many believers do not experience an outpouring of His power through their lives, limiting God's use of them by a lack of expectation. Nevertheless, they are anointed, and those who dare to harm any believer will, sooner or later, be dealt with by God. Hopefully they become believers themselves, but if not, they will know the severity of God's displeasure.

1 Samuel 27:1-12

"David said in his heart, I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul; : there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines" (v.1).

There are times when even the most fervent of believers tires of daily battles for survival, and looks for an escape. Weary of being chased by Saul, David goes to live amongst his enemies, the Philistines. With a 'friend' like Saul, he saw no problem with this arrangement.

Usually David asked God for guidance before making any moves, but on this occasion there is no mention of such a request. He seems to have made the decision to move 'in his heart', that is, on his own. This does happen to believers; it's as if they don't ask for guidance because they think that either God is not going to help, or will expect them to continue struggling. They think they have found a solution themselves. Fortunately, God is aware when we do not mean to rebel. Knowing what the future holds, He will use our deviations to teach us lessons that bring about a return to His will.

Thank You, Father, for Your understanding!

1 Samuel 28:1-25

Then said Samuel, "... the LORD has left you and become your enemy" (v.16).

For our faith in God to be effective for our guidance it needs to be consistent. We can see that this was not the case with Saul. He starts off well enough, then disobeys some of God's commands given through Samuel. Then, after the slaying of Goliath, comes his blessings upon David. But when the people began to praise David more than they did Saul, he became jealous, and his vendetta against David took off. After the Spirit of the Lord departed from him, Saul became unpredictable. He killed off the priests of God, yet prayed for blessings on those who served him well; he rid the land of sorcerers and mediums, yet sought one when his prayers to God were not being answered. He was like a yo-yo!

When believers are in trouble their ways can be like those of Saul. Then it is time to turn humbly to God again, confess their sins and start from square one with the buildup of their faith. It is important to approach God humbly, placing no reliance on previous service for God or knowledge of the Bible. We must see ourslves as 'new' believers, just beginning to learn how to walk with God. When we approach Him in sincerity and with purposeful intent to serve Him, He will give us guidance. Believe me; I have been there!

It's like someone who has had an accident, broken legs and bones, and has to learn to walk and function normally again.

John 11:1-53

Jesus said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby" (v.4).
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he dies, is still alive, for whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (vv.25,26). (My paraphrase).
Jesus wept (v.35).

Normally I select one thought from a passage to chew on (we are to feast on the Bread of Life!), but I just had to dwell on these three thoughts:

  • 1. Our lives - through sickness or trials, as well as when things go well - are intended to glorify God, in this way glorifying Jesus. I cannot express it better than in these beautiful words from Annie Johnson Flint, who suffered with an incurable illness:
    He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength as our labours increase.
    To added afflictions He addeth His mercy.
    To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
  • 2. It is not enough to know that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. If we believe this, then we must show the proof by living these words out in our lives.
  • 3. 'Jesus wept'? Does it not surprise you that Jesus, Almighty God, Who had the power to raise the dead, should weep? After all, He knew He was going to raise Lazarus to life!
    Well, Jesus was not weeping over the death of Lazarus; He wept for He empathised with the pain and hurt that was felt by Lazarus' family and friends. Know this: when we have lost someone we love, Jesus weeps for our pain and sorrow, and prays for strength for us from His privileged position at the right hand of God (Hebrews 4:15; 8:1).

All of this adds up to believers having a wonderful Saviour and Friend.

Psalm 117:1-2

O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.

These verses are at the midpoint of the Bible. I see this as a reminder that whatever in life has gone before, and whatever lies ahead, we must make it our business to praise the Lord!

Proverbs 15:22-23

22. Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

Those who go through life trusting only in their own reasoning might do well enough, but will not achieve the greater success that will come from having access to the wisdom of many other counsellors.

23. A man feels satisfaction from his own good counsel, and a timeous word of wisdom gives much pleasure. (My paraphrase).

As a counsellor for others, it feels wonderful when God inspires us to give sound advice that we know will greatly benefit those we are counselling.

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Bible poetry: Proverbs 15:20-21

v.20. A wise son makes his father glad: but a foolish man despises his mother.
v.21. A man without wisdom enjoys stupidity; but a man of understanding will do what is right. (My paraphrase).

The good a wise son does
is sure to make his father glad;
a foolish son who does not care
will make his mother sad.

There are those men, though quite unwise,
who think they're smart in their own eyes;
but men who understand God's way
will pray for guidance every day.

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Devotion Thoughts - 19/05/2011

1 Samuel 24:1-22

Afterward David felt bad about cutting off Saul's skirt (v.5). David said to his men, The LORD forbid that I should wrong my master, the LORD'S anointed, by reaching out against him, seeing as he is the Lord's anointed (v.6).

David had great respect for the Lord, which is why his conscience made him feel bad about what he afterwards saw as an attack on Saul. David acknowledged that Saul was one of God's anointed, even if he was trying to kill David. Because he respected Saul's anointing, God made sure that David was blessed as the anointed king of Israel. Believers should show the same kind of respect to one another, even those they disagree with, for believers are the anointed of God! The respect we show to others will be shown to us in turn.

1 Samuel 25:1-44

'The name of the man was Nabal ... churlish, and evil in what he did' (v.3).

When someone is wealthy, the world regards he or she as someone who has a worthwhile message to listen to, even though possession of wealth does not always go hand in hand with intelligence, common sense and good character. Although wealthy, Nabal (whose name means 'fool') had no common sense and this showed in his response to David's men. Maybe it was the idea of parting with some of his wealth that caused him to make a wrong decision.

Believers, guided by the Bible, know that the only worthwhile message for the world to hear is the gospel of salvation for all who will believe in Jesus. Jesus' words will not pass away, but heaven and earth will pass away, along with the worthless words of mankind.

John 10:22-42

I give to them eternal life; they shall never perish, nor shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, Who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one (vv.28-30).

When we place our trust in Jesus we are placing our trust in Almighty God, for Jesus and our Father are one. There is a lot going for us, believers!

I do not believe in the doctrine of 'Once saved, always saved', which some think Jesus is saying when He declares, 'They shall never perish'. Know that, although no man can pluck us out of God's hands, we can personally choose to walk away from God, or become apostate, or, as Paul put it, 'be shipwrecked' in our faith. Praise God that as long as we place our trust in Him to take care of us there is no danger of shipwreck.

Psalm 116:1-19

'Because God has listened to my prayer I will worship Him as long as I live' (v.2).

The psalmist has not had it easy to judge from his words, but that has not stopped him from praising the Lord and serving him with all his heart.

The writer has in mind service while still alive on earth; believers know that serving the Lord will never end. Our born again state is about 'everlasting life', which means that just as soon as our earthly days for worshiping the Lord are over we continue praising Him along with the multitude that have gone before. Hallelujah! Believers are indeed blessed!

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Bible Poetry: Proverbs 15:18-19

v.18. A man easily angered is sure to cause strife; but one who is cautious will lead a calm life.

v.19. The man who is idle much trouble will see; while paths for the righteous will far smoother be.

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Devotion Thoughts - 18/05/2011

1 Samuel 22:1-23

David went to Mizpeh of Moab and asked the king of Moab, "Please allow my father and mother to live with you until I know what God will do for me..." (v.22:3)

Here is the secret of David's success: whatever he had to do he first asked God for guidance. This is apparent throughout the record of his life. God appreciates it when we defer to Him, and willingly responds to our humble requests for His help.

1 Sam 23:1-29

Saul was on this side of the mountain, David and his men on the other side. David made haste to get away, for Saul and his men surrounded David and his men and were about to capture them (v.23:26). But a messenger came to Saul, saying, "Come quickly! The Philistines have invaded the land!" (v.23:27). (My paraphrase).

We don't always notice when God is busy in our lives, but He is - all the time! Saul was about to capture David, but God had already set in motion the Philistine invasion which prompted the message that caused Saul to return home. It might appear that the messenger arrived 'at the last minute', but God has everything well timed.

When it seems that God is not going to rescue us we must not fall into despair, for God says: 'It will happen that before they [His people] finish praying I will respond' (Isaiah 65:24).

If you are busy doing what you know God wants you to do, then believe that His answer is on the way. He never neglects obedient servants!

John 10:1-21

'I came that they might have life, abundant life!' (v.10). (My paraphrase).

If we focus only on the financial or the physical, we might not agree that we have 'abundant' life. There is not doubt that, compared with many wealthy non-believers, believers generally do not have much by way of material good. But that is not the reason we became believers. We are believers because we accept that Jesus died to take away our sins, cleansing us so that we are eligible to live in God's heaven.

I believe that the 'abundant life' applies to life on earth and then in heaven. The cause of problems on earth is about our perceptions of what life should be made up of. If we believe that 'abundance' is about material wealth and we are poor, then we will believe that we do not have 'abundance'.

But if we think of wealth in terms of the spiritual, then having God in our lives will be more important to us than anything else in the world; we will believe we have abundant life when Almighty God lives in our hearts. Then the closer we walk with God the more we see ourselves as enjoying abundant life.


They that make [idols] are like them; so is every one that trusts in them (v.8).
You who fear the LORD, trust the LORD: he is their help and shield (v.11).

The psalmist gives a description of the man-made idols: they don't speak, see, hear, smell, or feel, nor are they mobile. In short, they are totally useless, unable to help in any situation. That is in stark contrast to the Lord, Who helps and protects those who trust in Him.

Who makes idols these days? Other than Islam, most non-Christian religions make what God described as 'graven images' and bow down to them (Exodus 20:4,5). However, not all idols are visible images. Some idols take the form of wrongful desires (Colossians 3:5), or attitudes such as rebellion against God, stubbornly refusing to acknowledge His right to be honoured as the Creator. Because they have rejected God and His word, He is going to reject them at the Judgment (1Samuel 15:23).

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Poetry Bible: Proverbs 15:15-17

v.15. When Believers are quite ill it's about the physical; those we call 'afflicted' will suffer in the spiritual.

v.16. Rather own but little yet be walking with the Lord than to have great troubles, even though you have a hoard.

v.17. Better to have little, with a family full of love, than to live in hatred, 'though you own a treasure trove!

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Devotion Thoughts - 17/05/2011

1 Samuel 20:1-42. 1 Samuel 21:1-15

'... David said to Ahimelech the priest, "The king has sent me on a secret mission and told me to not tell anyone else about it ..."' 1Sa 21:2.

David's deceitful actions were to cost the life of innocent Ahimelech. In our readings, others who were involved in deceit included: Saul, towards David; Jonathan, towards Saul; and David, towards Achish, king of Gath.

Is there ever any justification for deceitfulness? If dishonesty for self-gain is involved there is no justification. But if I should know someone is guilty of an as yet undisclosed sin, I can either speak (or gossip!) about it and cause further hurt that will also harm others, or I can keep quiet about it in order to protect any who would be harmed by disclosures (technically deceitful, but also caring, which carries God's approval).

Here's something else: David's deceit was for personal benefit, but the ripples spread wide and, because of Doeg, cost the lives of the priest and most of his family. But David did not learn from this. Later, he again used deceit for personal benefit in the murder of Uriah the Hittite, trying to cover his adultery with Bathsheba. This time God sent Nathan the prophet to confront David about his ongoing deceitfulness.

If we repeat certain sins God brings us to book so that, like David, we have the opportunity to confess and say, 'I have sinned!' (2 Samuel 12:13). For Believers confession is spiritually therapeutic!

John 9:1-41

'I do the work God sent me to do while there is opportunity, for the end is coming after which it will no longer be possible to work' (v.4, my paraphrase).

There is no guarantee that we will see another sunrise. We might die today, but it could also be that the Lord returns, signifying the end of this age. Either way is OK for Believers!

However, if God chooses to allow us to continue with earthly life for a while longer then we should follow the example set by Jesus. Let us get on with the business of witnessing to the world that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour, Who died for the sins of the world, so that whosoever believes in him shall have everlasting life and live with God forever in His Kingdom.

Maranatha (even so, come Lord Jesus).

Psalm 113:1-9

Praise the LORD. You servants of the LORD, praise the Lord; praise the name of the LORD. (v.1).

There is no greater ministry for Believers than to worship Almighty God!

Psalm 114:1-8

Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord, ... the God of Jacob, Who turned rock into water, and flint into a fountain of waters (vv.7,8). (My paraphrase).

Believers, rejoice in God, for He can turn the hardest of situations into fountains of blessing!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Devotion Thoughts - 16/05/2011

1 Samuel 18:5-30.  1 Samuel 19:1-24
'It happened ... that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul ...' (18.10).
Confusing, isn't it? God sending a demon to upset Saul! What's going on?
Well, it's a manner of speaking. We find an answer in two parallel passages that describe an incident in the life of David. They are 2 Samuel 24:1 (God makes David take a census) and 1 Chronicles 21:1 (Satan makes David take a census). The verses following each of these references make it clear that they relate to the same incident.
For me the explanation is simple: taking a census was an unnecessary vanity on David's part; why bother to find out how strong his army was when he was supposed to trust God for protection and victory? Surely he had learned that much already?
Father God wants to teach His beloved child, David, a lesson; temporarily removing His protection from around David allows the ever-present Satan an opportunity to attack! So, however we describe the incident, the end result is the same: David is punished.
I also see this as proof of God's protecting power around Believers. Our Father God allows trials for our good (1 Corinthians 10:13). By trusting Him throughout them, we will become stronger Believers through seeing how God rescues us from every evil.
John 8:31-59
Jesus said to those who believed him, If you obey my teachings then you are truly my disciples; and you shall know the truth, and it shall make you free. (vv.31,32).
In John 14:6 John writes that Jesus called Himself 'the Way, the Truth, and the Life'. It is a way of saying that there is no other way to God the Father, a message drummed into His disciples by the Father Himself Who said,'This is my beloved Son; listen to Him!' (Matthew 17:5).  Now we have Jesus confirming that we need to believe on Him, obey His teachings and then only are we His disciples. Those Christians who do not obey all His teachings are not, by those criteria, His disciples.
Psalm 112:1-10
'Surely... the righteous shall be remembered forever' (v.6).
We know that at the Judgment the books in which details of our earthly lives have been recorded will be scrutinized. Fortunately for Believers, the sins they committed on earth will have been expunged from the record by God. Great! But that's not all! The verse says that Believers (I'm using writers' liberty here, but it is still correct!) will be remembered forever. For what? Well, if only our bad deeds are forgotten, then we can only be remembered.
Thank You for Your kindness, Lord!


Bless God, O my soul, for my God has blessed me!
Christ died on the cross so that I can be free
from all of my sins, cast far in the sea
of God's great forgiveness! How God has blessed me!


Bible Poetry: Proverbs 15:12-14

Proverbs 15:12-14

v. 12. Those who scorn to hear the truth from sense are far removed,
nor will they seek wiser help in case they be reproved.

v. 13. Laughter is the way to go if smiles we want to share;
spirits break in hearts that sorrow more than they can bear.

v.14. For the bright, to have more knowledge is what they would gain;
but for fools, from foolishness they simply can't refrain.



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Devotion Thoughts - 15/05/2011

1 Samuel 17:1-58. 1 Samuel 18:1-4
Then said David to the Philistine, You come against me with a sword, a spear, and a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, ... (v.17:45).
Because the battle is the Lord's ... he will give you into our hands (v.17:47).

It was no accident that David had great faith in God's ability to protect him. His relationship with God had been developed from when he was dutifully taking good care of his father's sheep.
When God gives us duties to perform, handle them as being for the Lord; He sent them to prepare us for greater responsibilities as His servants.

John 8:21-30
He [God the Father] that sent me is with me; he has not left me alone; for I do always the things that are pleasing to him (v.29).
There we have it, straight from the mouth of Jesus: if we do those things that please our heavenly Father He will always be with us. That's not to say that when Believers do things that He does not like that He is going to drop us. Jesus is simply putting a positive slant to our spiritual walk: please God and we will know His presence!

Psalm 111:1-10
I will thank GOD with my whole heart wherever I go (v.1.) (My paraphrase).
There is no point in pretending to worship God; He knows when we mean what we say. In Isaiah 29:13 the Lord said, 'These people honour me with their lips ... but their hearts are far from me ...' (my paraphrase). Trying to con God will anger Him. Rather tell it 'like it is' when we pray; He respects that even when it does not come with praise.

Proverbs 15:11
If God can see what is going on in the hearts of the dead then He can certainly see what is going on in our hearts and minds! Let us honour Him for his Omniscience!

Almighty God is well aware of all that's in our heart;
to those who honour Him for that His grace He does impart.

Edward John Kidgell: May 2011).

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Be obedient!

Be obedient!

When God gives commands then be sure to obey,
and not be like Saul who did things his own way.
His deeds made God angry, so God did disown
the king He had chosen, and Saul lost his crown.

If we would be honoured by God, then be sure
to honour Him first and live lives that are pure;
for God detests sin; but to those who uphold
His every command He keeps riches untold!

(c) Edward John Kidgell, May 2011

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Devotion Thoughts - 14/05/2011

As from today I am going to write 'believers', that is, those who are born again through faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, as 'Believers'. Too many who claim to be Christians are not born again; in spite of 'serving' God they are going to be rejected by Him at the Judgment (Matthew 7:21-23). Believers believe that the whole Bible is the Word of God, designed to help us to honour Almighty God in thought, in word and in deed when we believe what His word says and do what He wants.

1 Samuel 15:1-35
... but Saul ... (v.9).
... to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams (v.22.) ... rebellion is as bad as witchcraft, and stubbornness is like idolatry and idols ... Because you rejected the word of GOD, He has rejected you from being king (v.23).

The warning to Saul about obedience being better than sacrifice (or religious activities) is also appropriate for Believers. We are to obey God's word to the letter and not decide for ourselves what He should have told us to do, ending up by only partially obeying Him.

1 Samuel 16:1-23
Jehovah said to Samuel, 'Don't look at his face ... or height, or size ... because I have rejected him: for ... man looks on the outward appearance, but I look on the heart'. (v.7)
God is never fooled by appearances and a glib tongue. Many will only find this out when they are rejected at His Judgment throne. Seeing as we can't ever fool God, it makes good sense to be honest with Him at all times. In my younger days I would get upset when God did not answer my prayers the way I wanted, and shouted at Him (but always apologised afterwards). I have since learned to accept His will, so now I don't shout. You could say I related to God much like I related to my earthly dad; saying how I felt, but never losing my respect for Him, which He could see in my heart.
Try being natural with God yourself; He understands very well!

John 8:1-20
But when they continued asking Him he ... said to them, He that is without sin among you, let him be the first to cast a stone at her (v.7)
It is a good idea to judge ourselves before passing judgment on others. If we can see that we are no better than others in God's eyes (and we aren't!) then we must surely want a compassionate judgment to be passed on us. And it will happen if we put into practice these words of Jesus:

'For with what judgment you judge [others], you shall be judged; how you measure others shall be used as a measure against you' (Matthew 7:2).

Psalm 110:1-7
I will make Your enemies Your footstool. (v.1)
YHWH? To 'my Lord'? Of course! The Father and Son of the Holy Trinity!
Just as God the Father looked after His Son , so He will look after us, but we must approach Him via Jesus' name. The name of Jesus is powerful with the Father! This, to the point where, in Jesus' name, we will be enabled to rule over all that comes against us (v.2).
Think on this: like any other father who wants to see his child succeed, God is longing to help us cope with the challenges of life!

Proverbs 15:8-10
The underlying message of the Bible is: those who honour God will be honoured by Him; those who dishonour Him are losers. Sometimes (v.10) it takes some serious testing and correction to get one who has strayed from God to return to Him.

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Devotion Thoughts - 13/05/2011

1 Samuel 13:23. 1 Samuel 14:1-52
Jonathan said to his armour bearer, 'Come, let us go over to the garrison of those uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will use us to fight: for it is no problem for Him to save by many or by few'. 1Sa 14:6 (my words).

Presumably the Philistines allowed Saul and Jonathan to have swords for ceremonial purposes. But the God of Israel needed just one sword in the hand of Jonathan to overthrow a garrison of Philistines. We can be powerful witnesses even if our resources are limited.
Saul's silly rule, forbidding his troops from eating, was not a good idea (v.24), for when they became faint with hunger they became less effective as fighters. Don't make Saul's mistake; God wants us to ask His guidance before making any rulings or plans, a lesson Saul needed to learn.

John 7:30-53
'His hour was not yet come' (v.30).
God has a time for everything that must happen. Trying to hurry Him is not going to work. Learn to rest in Him, assured that His good plans for you will be put into operation at exactly the right time. When we are ready for God, He will be ready for us; then rivers of living water will flow out of us.

Proverbs 15:5-7
v.5. A fool seldom learns from his father's instruction,
but those who are smart always heed sound advice.

v.6. The house of the righteous is built on good business;
the wicked make money from their avarice.

v.7. The wise share their knowledge to help those around them,
but hearts that are foolish do not give a care.

Now if you would honour the Lord by your conduct -
be honest; be caring; be ready to share!

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Devotion Thoughts - 12/05/2011

1 Samuel 12:1-25
And they said, Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man's hand. 1Sa 12:4
How wonderful it was for Samuel to look back over the years and to know that there was not one person who could dispute his honesty. Any person alive today can be proud of such a record ... but it is not enough to get anyone into heaven! We are saved through faith, not by the works we have done for God (Ephesians 2:5,8,9). There is not a man who can say to God: 'You owe me, for I have done many good things in Your name'. God has decreed that it is only through faith in Jesus Christ that we are saved.

1 Samuel 13:1-22
But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD has sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be captain over his people, because you have not kept that which the LORD commanded you. 1Sa 13:14
If there is one thing God wants of us it is obedience to His commands. Saul was told to wait for Samuel to offer the sacrifice. But when Samuel did not come when Saul expected him Saul went ahead with the sacrifice, something he was not authorised by God to do, in spite of being the king; it cost him his kingdom.
When you are required to wait on God then wait! Thinking that you have no time to wait for God to act is foolish, arrogant, and a slight upon Him, implying that He has lost control of the situation.

John 7:1-29
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment (7:24).
There is not a man alive, no matter how much training and study he has done, who can look at another man and know exactly what is going on in his heart and mind. Whatever assessment he comes up with will be superficial, and subject to change as more information about the subject person is discovered. Only God knows everything about a man, and He knows everything about every man, woman and child who has ever lived.
How can we judge with righteous judgment? By comparing a man's behaviour with what God has commanded in His word.

Psalm 108:1-13
Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies. Psalm 108:13.
There is something of an exultant mood expressed in this psalm, and it must have to do with the writers confidence in God's ability to help should trouble come. Believers who constantly seek after God through prayer, meditation and the reading of His word know that He is a great, big, wonderful God!

Proverbs 15:4
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
As translated in the Good News Bible: Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit.
If we are wise we will speak kindly at all times; and bite our tongue when we are about to say nasty things to others.

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Devotion Thoughts - 11/05/2011

1 Samuel 10:1-27; 1 Samuel 11:1-15
10:7 And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee.
10:9 And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.

How wonderful to know God is with us when we face our daily round! Believers know the presence of God because, after receiving salvation, God dwells within them and they have 'another heart', a heart geared to seeking after God.
It was because the Spirit of God was in Saul that he did not break down in despair like the other Israelites did (11:5,6) but prepared to meet the challenge. Because God indwells believers, we can honour Him by facing all our challenges in the assurance that victory will be ours by letting God control us!

John 6:43-71
6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me has everlasting life.
6:48 I am that bread of life.
6:54 Whoso eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; ...
6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, ... You have the words of eternal life.

Some followers of Jesus left when they could not make sense out of His words about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. After His death and resurrection, bread and wine were understood to be the symbols of Jesus' body and blood. (Some believers were accused of cannibalism!)
Underlying communion should be an awareness that it not only represents Jesus' death on Calvary, but it requires being born again in order to have eternal life and to partake of communion worthily. Those not born again are not worthy to partake of communion (1 Corinthians 11:27) despite wanting to honour God (Matthew 7:22-23).

Psalm 107:1-43
O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Psa 107:1
Paul was also one for giving thanks to God (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We can never thank Him enough for all the blessings we receive from Him. He is a loving God Who desires to have fellowship with us every day!

Proverbs 15:1-3
The eyes of the LORD are in every place. Pro 15:3
There is no place in the universe that is hidden from God. He sees everything that goes on, not only in the present, but simultaneously in the past and the future. He is Almighty God for Whom nothing is impossible. He created time for us to live in, but He lives in eternity, as do believers who have died ('absent from the body; present with the Lord'; 2 Corinthians 5:8). How good to know that He is fully aware of what is happening in our lives, and will intervene appropriately when necessary!

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Monday, June 13, 2011

God is waiting to answer our prayers!

2 Chronicles 7:14

God will answer prayer when He knows it is time;
but He has been waiting until the right clime
when His true believers are down on their knees
confessing where they disobeyed His decrees.
When God hears confessions, He's quick to begin
with boundless forgiveness for our every sin.

But He will go further by healing our land
with plenteous blessings from His loving hand.
So don't wait, my brother, there's plenty to do;
it's not just for others, it's also for you
to humble yourself and to ask God to bless
our land and our people with fresh righteousness.

(c) Edward John Kidgell, May 2011

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Devotion Thoughts - 10/05/2011

1 Samuel 8:1-22
How unfortunate that a God-honouring man like Samuel had sons in the ministry who 'walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre' (8:3). Every person must choose whether or not to serve God, regardless of what their parents, friends, or families do.
God did not blame Samuel for the people wanting a king, saying they had rejected Him because they did not want Him to reign over them (8:7). Nothing has changed; most people do not want God to rule their lives, preferring to choose a way not 'restricted' by His commands, a way that always ends disastrously.

1 Samuel 9:1-27
In looking for a king, Samuel was led by God to Saul, 'a choice young man' (v.2). Nothing happens by chance; God had told Samuel he would meet Saul coming into the city (v.15). The temporary loss of the asses was part of God's plan to bring Samuel into contact with Saul.
In Psalm 139:16 David says that every day of his life was recorded before he was born. This cannot be about David only; it has to apply to everybody who has ever lived. In that case, every letter in the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) has significance. Whichever way the Hebrew is 'read'- every second or every third letter; backwards; forwards; in fact, in every direction possible - our names and details of our lives are recorded. Applicable research presents a credible case for believing David is right!
Now think on this: if everything we have ever done was recorded before we were born, does anything ever happen by chance? I can't see how!

John 6:22-42
People are still looking for Jesus today; the true Jesus; the Son of Man; the Jesus Who is King of kings and Lord of lords; Who is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world; Who is the Bread of Life (v.35); Who gives everlasting life to those who believe on Him (v.40,47)? Are we able to help them find Him?

Psalm 106:32-48
For believers to choose to find entertainment in questionable company and settings is spiritually dangerous (vvv.35,36). Their influence will likely be stronger than that of the believer. Believers might drift away from God and create even worse defilement for themselves (v.39).

Proverbs 14:34-35
The United States government, once very strong financially, has lately been struggling with budget problems. This is not surprising to a believer.
Nations that have reduced or eliminated the worship of God in public life and government have experienced a rise in corruption in business and government, murders in schools, and natural disasters, to name just some of their growing problems. The answer to any nation's problems lies in the hands of believers and no one else:

'If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land' (2Chronicles 7:14).

God listens to individual prayers.

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Ask Him now!

Proverbs 14:32-33

There's a heaven for all God's righteous ones
who have done all things well;
but for those who chose a life of sin,
their steps will lead to hell.

For the righteous, in their wisdom, chose
to serve and honour God;
while the foolish sinners, by their choice,
the road to Hell have trod.

Yet it's not too late to make the change
from sinner; Christ will save
all who trust Him for salvation even
just before the grave;

like the dying thief on Cal'vry who
was almost at death's door
when he asked the Lord to help Him ...
and was saved for evermore!

Even now, if you will ask Him, Christ
will offer you His hand;
then together you will walk with Him
into the Gloryland!

(c) Edward John Kidgell
May 2011

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Devotion Thoughts - 09/05/2011

1 Samuel 5:1-12
YHWH is the only god! There is only one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit are God, co-equal in power and glory.
Everything and everyone in the world will one day bow before Him in adoration and worship. Very soon now every knee - including those of atheists, godless evolutionists, so-called Christians, and non-Christians - will bow before Jesus Christ, their tongues confessing that He is LORD!

1 Samuel 6:1-21
Amazingly, the Philistines did not realise that YHWH was the only God, and continued to worship their own 'gods' even after the display of God's power. As for the Bethshemites, although they were Israelites who had rejoiced at the return of the precious Ark, they were punished for daring to dishonour God by treating His Ark as a common thing. God, and the things of God, must always be treated with honour and respect.

1 Samuel 7:1-17
God's command: 'There shall be no other gods before Me' (Exodus 20:3) is so important that it is number one on the list. Just as soon as we surrender to Him every other attraction ('gods') - including beloved family members and friends, and desires prompted by covetousness such as envy, and all fleshly appetites - and humbly bow before Him, making Him Number One in our lives, that is how quickly He will help and restore us (Matthew 6:33).

John 6:1-21
Jesus was always ready for a challenge by which He could honour His Father (giving thanks in v.11). Too many believers see their challenges as being impossible to handle. If God dwells within us, and nothing is impossible for Him, what is holding us back from stretching our faith? Perhaps a good way to start - if you don't already do it - is to tithe on your income. I believe that if we give willingly, with a good heart, we will be blessed more than we should expect (Luke 6:38). But don't tithe to get; tithe in obedience, to honour God. It works for me!

This psalm continues recounting the events in the life of the nation, Israel. Given that God had proved Himself to them again and again, their continued sinning does not make sense Sometimes even believers, who have experienced God's power in their lives, doubt His love for them when things don't go the way they want.
Make a point of accepting that God is in control in your life; trust Him, and relax. You only create 'problems' for yourself when you disagree with Him about how you think matters should happen to be in your life.

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Devotion Thoughts - 08/05/2011

1 Samuel 2:22-36

God said: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Pro 22:6) . When God says 'He that spares his rod hates his son: but he that loves him chastens him when necessary' (Proverbs 13:24), then we had better believe that God knows best. Those who think corporal punishment will warp the character of the child are correct only if the rod is applied unjustly and more than necessary. When I misbehaved at school I was caned, but never told my parents, for they would have punished me as well for wasting the teacher's time! They feared God, believed His Word, and gave me a hiding when I needed it. I am glad about that!
Eli was too soft on his sons. God intended to kill Hophni and Phineas (2:25) for which their father had to share the blame (v.29); not only because 'they knew not the Lord' (v.12), but because Eli did not stop their ungodly behaviour which, in effect, made them superior to God. Jesus warned against ungodly behaviour (Matthew 18:3-7). Satan lost out for trying to be superior to God.

1 Samuel 3:1-21

Although it might not be as audible a voice as Samuel heard, God's call to His servants to give up all and follow Him is always clear. It can come through scripture repeatedly brought to mind; a challenge in a sermon; or a direct word through a fellow-believer. However the call comes, it is confirmed in one way or another. Samuel heard his call via the audible voice of God. I did not hear an audible voice but, along with repeated scripture passages, there was an inner voice telling me that God wanted me to leave my secure, well-paid job and go into full-time service for Him. I have never regretted following that call.

1 Samuel 4:1-22

There is no doubt that Eli was a godly man (v.13), fearing as he did for the safety of the ark of God. But the ark was only a symbol of the presence of God. Believers know that they have the presence in their hearts; that God goes with them everywhere they go!

John 5:24-47

This seems to contradict 2 Corinthians 5:6,8. However, a closer examination of other verses relating to the return of Jesus indicates that when we die our spirit leaves our body and enters heaven, while our bodies are buried. When Christ returns He will have the spirits of the 'dead' saints with Him. Their spirits will then join their resurrected but now incorruptible bodies (1Co 15:52) and, together with the living believers whose bodies will also be made incorruptible, will go to heaven. As for the spirits of dead unbelievers who have been sojourning in hell, a place of torment (Revelation 20:13), they will also join their resurrected bodies, but will end up in the Lake of Fire (v.29; Revelation 20:14) after Judgment.

Psalm 106:1-12

Children who have parents they love and cherish are fortunate and blessed. How much more of a privilege is it to be children of a loving God, and to offer praise to Him as our heavenly Father; to know that we are part of His family and will dwell in His house, the house of the Lord, forever! It will be ours through believing in the Lord Jesus for salvation! What's more, God is so keen to have us in His family that He is willing and waiting to adopt us as His sons and daughters!

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God wants to BLESS us!

I've been blessed by God above in many ways that show His love.
If you would His rich love enjoy then spend your time in His employ!

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Proverbs 14:28-29

Proverbs 14:28

People who are popular have earned it by their deeds;
doing things for others; reaching out to meet their needs!

Proverbs 14:29

Take your time to think things out before committing acts;
bad decisions will be made should you know not the facts!

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Devotion Thoughts - 07/05/2011

1 Samuel 1:1-28. 1 Samuel 2:1-21
We should not wait for confirmation before believing. Our faith, in itself, is evidence of our belief and expectations (Hebrews 11:1).
Samuel's parents, Hannah and Elkanah, were a God-honouring couple. When Eli the High Priest told her her petition would be granted she did not doubt. In due course she had Samuel, which means 'Because I asked him of the Lord'. She did not forget to thank God for answered prayer (21:1-10).
Being a priest did not guarantee that Eli's sons grew up to honour God. Children must be TAUGHT to worship and respect God (Proverbs 22:6). Samuel was taught by the example set by his parents.

John 5:1-23
In 'The Practice of the Presence of God', Brother Lawrence tells of his daily chats with God amidst the mundane things of life such as preparing food and cleaning up the kitchen. It was a routine thing for him, the result of a deliberate plan to talk to God every day, something we can all do.
Here's a suggestion:
List what you are going to do (the Lord's Prayer is a helpful guide). Start with praise and worship of God, then your list of prayer requests. These must include a daily surrender of your will to God, confession of sins and asking the Holy Spirit to guide you into a life of purity and victory.
Follow a systematic daily Bible reading programme (I use my favourite translation of the One Year Bible on which I base my comments). Ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp the essential theme of each reading; write it down in a daily journal.
Don't expect everyone to gain what you have from each reading. Jesus, the Son of God, was crucified for His perfectly correct teachings!

Psalm 105:37-45
When God blesses He does so abundantly (v.37). He caused the Egyptians to push the Hebrew slaves out, but not empty-handed (Exodus 3:20-22). We must make a practice of believing that God is in control of our affairs (tell Him that you believe it to be so) and He will see to it that we do not go short. It is a great way of life!

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In praise of God

In praise of God

Lord, I love You;
Lord, I bless You;
You I worship and adore;
not alone for how You've blessed me,
but for much more ... much, much more!

You alone are God Almighty,
worthy of all mankind's praise;
by Your power You have created
all that is - in just six days!

Sun and moon; the stars; the heavens;
all earth's lands and seas and plants;
then all living - man included -
all were made to meet Your wants.

By Your love man was created
to have fellowship divine
with You, Lord - Son, Father, Spirit -
and to hear You say: 'You're Mine!'

(c) Edward John Kidgell
May 2011.

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Devotion Thoughts - 06/05/2011

John 4:43-54
We tend to give up when we see no reason to hope, and death normally means there is no point in continued faith. We can understand, then, the father's anxiety; he wanted Jesus to heal his son while he was still alive, that is, while there was 'hope'. But Jesus has no limits to what He can do, including the raising of the dead (See Luke 7).

Perhaps you are struggling with some situation where it appears hope is dead. You can still take the matter to Jesus and ask for His help. He can do miracles far beyond what we can think or imagine!

Psalm 105:16-36
This portion was written with hindsight into how God made things happen. He brought famine to Egypt after having previously prepared a suitable servant in the form of Joseph. He, after having been thoroughly proved by God through many trials, was used to bringing relief.
If you are going through trials right now, then know and believe that it is because God is preparing you for some important work (2 Corinthians 1:4) that only you can do!

Proverbs 14:26-27
If I want protection from any threats, I will not find it in a weak person. For the believer, his 'fear' of God is based on an awareness that God is Omnipotent; stronger than even the most powerful forces of nature (think earthquake, tsunami, etc) and therefore worthy of being feared and respected. So to Whom should we go for refuge? Common sense indicates that only God is a sure refuge!

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Monday, May 30, 2011


We are familiar with the theme of 'Faust', how he sells his soul to the devil in exchange for a life of wealth and ease. Believers can find encouragement with the thought that they obviously have not sold their souls to the devil!
Our reward is not limited to the time while we live on earth, only to leave it behind once death comes. (Even Satan cannot take anything from earth with him when God casts him into the Lake of Fire). Believers will enjoy blessings here on earth as well as in heaven.

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Devotion Thoughts - 05/05/2011

Judges 21:1-25

With a little more effort the tribe of Benjamin could have been wiped out forever; that is how little thought the other tribes gave to the matter. When they realised how close it was to extinction they were horrified. We should always think carefully before acting.
Fortunately, God is in control; even if we make mistakes He can help us to rectify things. That is why there was still a remnant of the tribe left to use to revive the Benjamites.
We should beware of thinking we are doing everything right. If everyone thought that way and acted accordingly there would be chaos in the country (21:25).

Ruth 1:1-22

In spite of a sense of bitterness over her great losses, and a feeling that God has abandoned her (v. 1.21), Naomi never turned her back on the Lord. This was in Peter's thinking when he told Jesus that they, the disciples, had no one else to turn to (John 6:68); or Job who, in spite of all his troubles, never stopped honouring God (Job 6:68).
Naomi, Job and Peter all ended up greatly blessed by the Lord. There is no doubt that we will also be blessed after enduring trials (James 1:2-4).

John 4:4-42

Sometimes you seem to be on one of life's by-roads that leads nowhere, and are puzzled as to what the purpose is. Ask God to show you His purpose; you will then realise that it is, after all, necessary that you go through a personal Samaria (v. 4:4). Nothing happens by chance. Allow God to help you work through any situation you find yourself in. He wants to use you to bring living water into the lives of others (v. 4:41)!

Psalm 105:1-15

When under trials we tend to forget the many marvellous things God has done for us, and become negative under new trials (v.105:5). Fortunately God is not forgetful; we can rely on Him to always remember the promises He makes to us (v.105:8).

Proverbs 14:25

The Bible teaches that Satan is already a loser; God is currently allowing him liberty during which to test us until the end of time, when he will receive his come-uppance.
Satan is a liar and a deceiver; those who choose to believe him are in big trouble. Rather trust God, the true Witness, if you want deliverance!

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Something to ponder;

'I have learned to be content no matter what sort of state I am in'. So wrote the Apostle Paul (Philippians 4:11 - my words). He meant this to apply even when you feel flat, down, depressed by your state of unworthiness. Why? Because there is in each believer a voice that says, 'God loves you, and has you in His heart'. That is why He has prepared a place for you so that you will one day live with Him forever!
So, right now, don't hassle. You might be feeling as if your world is caving in; that you are useless, worthless and aimless; but God still loves you anyway, and is with you. He will love you even when you think He couldn't or shouldn't. No matter what you think, He loves you.
Just let Him know how you feel - then let go of any unhappy thoughts and allow God to comfort you. Know that His plans for you are for your good - always! (Jeremiah 29:11).

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A prayer: My peace

A prayer: My peace

Thank You, Lord, that my peace does not depend on me but on You; what You have given me, not what I have to work for. It is You Who holds me, and gives me peace; it is not something I control.
It is a peace that assures me ' all is well in my soul', even when I am feeling at my lowest. Amen.

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Devotion Thoughts - 04/05/2011

Judges 19:1-30
We can be wrong about any group of people, even those of our own people (19:12,22); the man and his concubine might have been far better off treated by 'strangers'. Never assume we know all there is to know about anyone; rather ask for God's guidance before making a decision.

Judges 20:1-48
Actions have repercussions. God commanded that there be no immoral sin in the land. Unfortunately, the Benjamites chose to defend the sin against the rest of the tribes.
It also happens in the Christian church that sins forbidden by God, such as homosexuality, are defended by some church leaders. Such sins and sinners have no place in God's kingdom, in spite of the veneer of religion and respectability church leadership might lend to it. Having said that, homosexuality is a sin like any other, and those who pick on it incessantly would do well to remember Jesus injunction:

"Mat 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"


"Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;".

John 3:22-36. John 4:1-3
When I became a Christian it was so wonderfully life-changing that all I wanted to do was talk about Jesus. But as time went by my fervour cooled, and I spoke less and less about Jesus, until eventually I stopped witnessing altogether; I had become a backslider. It was not only some six years later, after I rededicated myself to God, that I began to decrease again, allowing Jesus to increase. This time I was determined that I would be like John: 'He must increase; I must decrease' (3:30), a process that has not stopped, for which I thank God.

Psalm 104:24-35
I surely am looking forward to seeing the glory of the Lord! If I can be full of rejoicing at the albeit invisible presence of the Lord with me as I live my life on earth, then it must be far more wonderful to be in His visible presence! That is going to be something!

Proverbs 14:22-24
God will bless those who do good and punish those who do evil. This is a given, a constant that we can rely on. With God's help, let us aim to do good.

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Barabbas or Jesus - Matthew 27:15-31

Barabbas or Jesus?

Barabbas was a criminal;
a murderer and thief
who represents the worst in man;
of sinners he was chief.
But Jesus was a sinless man;
no gentler would you find;
yet still He was rejected by
the leaders of His kind.

They hated all His miracles,
His teachings, and the good
that He was able to perform
with power from God above.
Unable to prevent Him from
being worshipped and adored,
they put in hand their wicked plan
to crucify ... the Lord!

When Judgment comes they'll ask themselves:
'Which one was best for me?
Barabbas, or Messiah Who
we sent to Calvary?'
Too late for them! But we can still
make Jesus Christ the One
to be our Friend and Saviour
when our time on earth is done!

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Shining for God - Exodus 34:30

Shining for God

Moses' face was shining after forty days with God;
that was bound to happen for on holy ground he trod.
Picture what we'll look like when in heaven our Lord we see;
basking in God's glory, we will shine eternally!

Lord, help me to shine for you with the radiance that comes from within me after fellowship with You. Amen.

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Devotion Thoughts - 03/05/2011

Judges 17:1-13. Judges 18:1-31
There are those of 'Christian persuasion' who are clearly mixed up. On the one hand they want to honour the Lord in the way they live; but on the other hand they break God's commands like Micah's mother did (17:3). God had forbidden the making of 'graven images', yet she believed in the way she interpreted God's will, a case of doing what was right in her own eyes (17:6). Her son eventually had 'an house of gods' and made one of his sons a priest! This shows the lengths to which some will go in order to have a 'religious' experience.
Sometimes large ministries or churches develop from their confused 'Christian' worship, but that does not mean that God is honoured in it (Matthew 7:21-23).
Thankfully, for believers it is simple; 'believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved' (Acts 16:31)! It was simple enough for the thief on the cross to be saved (Luke 23:42-43). Let us not complicate our faith by creating rules and methods that God never commanded.

John 3:1-21
'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God' (3:3). Jesus could not have spoken more clearly than that, yet so many 'Christians' do not accept what He said. They prefer their own way to God ( Proverbs 14:12), such as living a good life, doing good deeds, praying many times a day, going through certain rituals, accepting other religions because 'all roads lead to God', and so on. But the way to God is the way of the cross as Jesus says in John 3:14-18. Many who tried to honour God their own way are going to be horribly shocked when He rejects them at the Judgment. Take no chances - ask Jesus to be your Saviour - now!

Psalm 104:1-23
There is order and beauty about everything God created. There is such an abundance produced from the earth that none should go hungry. The problem is men who want more than what they are entitled to, causing them to break God's laws in order to feed their greed. If men learned to be satisfied with their lot in life they would be happier people!

Proverbs 14:20-21
If we are neighbours to the poor (v.20) and hate them then we sin; if we try to help them, we will feel blessed in our hearts (v.21).
God is loving and compassionate, and wants us to be the same. The blessings and help we give to the needy will definitely come back to us.