In Every Season
Pastor Armin Colón
2 Samuel 9:1-11:27
Verse of the day:
“In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.” (2 Samuel 11:1 NLT)
Different responses are needed in different seasons. In ancient Israel, Spring was the season to go to war due to the nice weather, the road conditions, and the availability of food. On the contrary, Winter was the rainy season; it was the time when crops were planted. What was right during Winter was inappropriate during Spring.
As both a man of war and a king, David knew this. Yet, in our verse, we discover that he consciously chose not to go to war. Why didn’t he? We’re not sure. Maybe he wanted to rest; maybe he was trying to delegate some of his responsibilities. Irrespective of the reason, David abandoned his purpose by staying home from battle and the consequences were devastating.
Today your season may be a single working adult. Maybe it’s married with no children or married with small children. You may be an empty nester. Maybe you are retired. You may be in between jobs or between relationships. You may be leading a large team or barely starting in your organization.
Regardless of the season you’re in, you must become aware of the expectations of this season.
This may require that you take time to read the Bible, pray, and think, or you may need to speak with a trusted friend who successfully overcame this season. Professionally, you may need to talk to your supervisor to clarify what is expected of you.
Then, your decisions and actions must reflect a keen awareness of what’s expected of you. To do anything else would be to abandon your purpose and to open yourself to unpleasant consequences.
May the Lord grant you the wisdom and understanding to know the season of life you’re in and to act accordingly. May His blessings be a permanent feature of your life as you strive to honor Him.
Someone in your corner
Pastor Shawn Follis
2 Samuel 7:1-8:18
Verse of the Day:
“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.” (John 14:15-16)
Everyone one wants to know that someone is in their corner fighting for them. Everyone wants to know that someone is watching their back. It is terrifying to be completely alone. Community gives us an opportunity to have these types of relationships. However, many may have friends, but how many have advocates?
An advocate is someone who publicly supports you. They do not keep their presence a secret. They are out in front, on the offensive telling people that they are working and fighting for you. That is the word that Jesus uses when he speaks of the Holy Spirit.
When many think of the Holy Spirit they think of something calm, personal, interior, or ghost like. Someone who is there, but not all the way there. However, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would not just be a personal prayer language or a personal sense of God’s presence in our lives. He promised that the Holy Spirit would be active in our lives as an advocate, a public presence in our daily activities. Someone that would fight alongside of us and have our back at the same time.
Have you ever wanted to see God move in a public place? Have you ever been challenged to share your faith or to pray for a friend in public? The Holy Spirit is with you always and he wants to flow through your life in a public way. Yes, Jesus said that when we pray we should do so in private, but he was talking about our personal prayer life. There is nothing wrong with praying publicly for someone’s healing or salvation. Jesus raised his voice so others would hear him pray, because he knew the Holy Spirit was going to flow through him in a public way to heal or restore a person and he wanted to make sure that God go the glory, publicly.
Don’t be tricked into thinking your relationship with God is supposed to hide away and be private. You have a public advocate that desires to publicly proclaim that God is an active part of your daily life. And remember, he will never leave you.
My Mid-life Crisis
Pastor Dan Wootton
It’s my birthday tomorrow, and I’m debating a mid-life crisis. I’m turning 35, and although that may seem young, the average life expectancy worldwide is 70. Stats for Americans are a little better, and I did eat kale once . . . so . . . I’m hopeful, but it’s better to be prepared.
The problem with most mid-life crises is that people wait too long to have them. One third of men experience an age-related emotional breakdown between 45 and 65. And if you’re having a mid-life crisis at 65, let’s be honest . . . it’s more like a three-quarters-life crisis.
So what’s the solution?
Be comfortable with death.
Christians should not be fearful of dying. Our goal should not be living long, but living well. Psalm 119:19 confesses, “I am only a foreigner in the land.” When we view our birth and death as the totality of our existence, our priorities misalign. If heaven is real . . . if everything that I’ve experience spiritually is true (and I believe it is), the ‘crisis’ I’m experiencing is actually my 0.000000000000000000000000001% life crisis.
And it’s going to be okay.
Let Someone Wash Your Feet
Pastor Jon Brooks
2 Samuel 2:12-3:39
Verse of the day:
And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. (John 13:14 NLT)
Have you ever washed someone else’s feet? Has someone else ever washed your feet?
A few years ago I lead a missions trip to Arizona where we did an outreach with Convoy of Hope. Part of that event was distributing free shoes, but before you were able to take your shoes there was a tent where volunteers would first wash your feet. We encountered person after person who was thrilled at the prospect of receiving new shoes but would strongly resist having their feet washed.
John 13 tells the account of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet and there was resistance to this idea back then too.
6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”
I can definitely relate to Peter. To allow someone to wash my feet publically would bring embarrassment and publicity that I like to avoid. Yet this is no small matter.
I believe the reason we struggle to wash others’ feet is because we have not let Jesus wash ours first. We act strong like Peter and tell him not to touch us. We don’t want Jesus or anyone else to see our dirt and we’re used to carting it around. We accept it. We might even like it. And if we were to allow Jesus to serve us in this manner then we might acknowledge we are servants as well.
The only way we can serve is to allow the greatest of all serve us. You and I must grant him permission to wash us and serve us and remove all our sins, shame and pain. Today Jesus still washes feet. We are called to do the same.
To Win, You Have To Lose It In God’s Kingdom
Pastor Joshua Humpa
2 Samuel 1:1-2:11
Verse of the Day:
Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity (John 12:25)
TobyMac has a song called, “Lose My Soul.” It’s a classic and a perfect pairing to this devotional if you want to listen to it now or after reading. The song is all about his concern for gaining the whole world but losing his soul. It’s a fun pop song with deep cut lyrics. It speaks truth because if you’re a Christ follower, you probably would say that you want to give God your everything. You want to be selfless, all in for everything that God is calling you to do. But as a human being, that’s far easier said than done.
Jesus tells us in John 12 that if you love your life here on Earth, you’re doing it wrong. Not that Jesus wants you to have a miserable, mopey composition, rather God is a God of joy and fills His believers with that heavenly joy! What Jesus means is that if the here and now is more important than eternal matters, we’ve got it all wrong. If we’re more focused on what we can do to get pleasure in the moment over what will make a more everlasting impact than we need to shift our focus back to Jesus and what His Kingdom is all about.
My two year old daughter is all about the here and the now. She’s only interested in what’s happening in the moment, and if she has to wait, then she’s not content. A few days ago we were going to drive to a nicer park in the area because she really wanted to play at a park for our family day. On the drive, we passed a couple of parks that weren’t as nice, but as we passed each one she would yell, “There’s a park! We can go there!” Again, she was so focused on the here and the now that she couldn’t understand that a better park that she would enjoy far more with way less people is on the way. The same is true for us. We want to spend our money on today’s pleasures, we want to give our time to the things that make us happy now, we want to work for the here and now. Jesus is pleading with us, please do not get so wrapped up in this world and it’s matters because it’s so short and so meaningless. Focus on eternity, worry less on today’s stuff and work towards making a Heavenly impact.
Strengthen yourself in the Lord!
1 Samuel chapter 30 records a low period for David and his mighty men of valor. They were out at war, allying themselves with the Philistines to fight against the Israelites. David was denied the right to fight by the princes of the Philistines. The next day they started the three-day march back to Ziklag, the city they called home. Before their arrival, the Amalekites raided the city, taking prisoner all of the women and children and burned the city to the ground.
Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep (1 Samuel 30:4). To make matters worse, the men were talking about stoning David. Talk about a bad day!
David and all of his men just lost their wives and their children. They had no idea if they were still alive. The city is burned down and all of the men are weeping until they couldn’t weep any longer. To relieve some of the pain they wanted to kill David. Naturally, David was distressed, he was suffering from pain and anxiety. He reached the lowest of lows.
There were many options for David to respond but he decided to strengthen himself in the Lord. After all, David was the man after God’s own heart. He was the psalmist that said, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4).
How do you respond in difficult times?
Since I started serving at Oak Creek Assembly of God three months ago, I have been getting to know the other pastors. I have been asking them about their spiritual disciplines. In other words, I ask them how they strengthen themselves in the Lord. I want to share with you what I learned from them so you can get some ideas. Most of them spend time in prayer and in the Bible every morning. One has his time at 5am every day. One has a special chair where he sits and spends time with God every morning before work. Some spend time with God every night. Most read through the yearly Bible plan. Some write down what God speaks to them in a journal and refers back to it when needed. One of them listens to the Word every day. Some fast and pray on a regular basis. I am pretty sure all of them read the online devotion every day. Some do a combination of several things.
I want to encourage you to always strengthen yourself in the Lord. Strengthen yourself in His Word and in His presence. Be a man or woman after God’s own heart. Come up with a daily plan to strengthen yourself in Him!
Your Chance To Take Them Out
Pastor Tom Murray
1 Samuel 24:1-25:44
Verse of the day:
"You have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it.”
1 Samuel 24:15 (NLT)
In pursuing our goals, we can see a person who is in a position we desire as standing in our way. We think as long as they are where they are, we will never get what we want.
Is there a role you want in your organization that is currently held by another person?
Do you want them to succeed or fail?
Would you seize an opportunity to bring them down?
David had an opportunity to bring down his predecessor. King Saul was vulnerable in a cave. David’s men urged him to seize the moment by killing the king.
As David began to take action, his conscience spoke to him (1 Samuel 24:5). David restrained his men and spared the king’s life. Then, David told Saul what happened.
Saul responded, "you have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it” (v. 18).
Hoping for someone to fail is a miserable place to exist. There is also no peace for the leader who is constantly paranoid about who is after their position.
God has you right where you are today for a reason and purpose. The position that you long for may be in your future. In the meantime, pray for the person who is currently in that role and do everything you can to help them succeed. If God is preparing you for that position, trust that He will open the right door at just the right time.
Who’s on your team?
Pastor Stephanie Humpa
1 Samuel 22:1-23:29
Verse of the day:
“So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. Soon his brothers and all his other relatives joined him there. Then others began coming—men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented—until David was the captain of about 400 men.” (1 Samuel 22:1-2)
Were you ever a captain of a kickball team when you were younger where you were able to pick who you wanted on your team? Who did you choose? Probably the most athletic and most capable players who were available to you right? When picking a team you don’t choose a weak player unless they are all that is left.
When we catch up to David in 1 Samuel 22 he is now on the run for his life. He had to leave those who would have made good teammates behind and run to the unknown. He wouldn’t be alone on his team for long. Soon family members came to join him as well as others who the Bible describes as “men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented.” These were probably not his first choice teammates but they were what he had.
As we read on David feels God leading him to go protect a town called Keilah that was being taken advantage of by the Philistines. His men were afraid and protested going. Not a good start for David’s teammates. However, they go and God gives them the victory over the Philistines.
We can easily get discourage when we don’t have the resources that we think we need. God however can use any vessel that is wiling. So whether you feel like David and are struggling to form a good team or you feel like you don’t have what it takes like David’s men there is incredible hope for you because ultimately it is not about us but what God does through us.
He cares for you
Pastor Armin Colón
1 Samuel 20:1-21:15