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Scripture

[ecko_quote source="Acts 13:22 "]After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do [/ecko_quote]

Devotion

More has been written about King David than any other character in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, there are sixty-six chapters written about King David, and in the New Testament, there are fifty-nine references to this great man of God. We cannot only read about David’s life in 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Kings and 1 Chronicles but can also glean insight into what he thought and felt by reading many of the Psalms he wrote. Seventy-three Psalms have been attributed to David.  The name David in Hebrew means “beloved”. King David is the only person in the Bible whose epitaph reads “a man after God’s own heart" (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts. 13:22).

To understand why David was called a man after God’s own heart, we need to understand the characteristics he had to qualify for such an exalted description. First, David had absolute faith in God. Nowhere in Scripture is this point better illustrated than in 1 Samuel 17, where David as a young shepherd boy fearlessly slew the Philistine, Goliath. Second, David absolutely loved God’s law. Of the 150 psalms in the Bible, David is credited with writing over half of them. Writing at various and often troubling times in his life, David repeatedly mentioned how much he loved God’s perfect Word. Third, David was truly thankful. “I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O LORD, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds” (Psalm 26:6-7). David’s life was marked by seasons of great peace and prosperity as well as times of fear and despair. Fourth, David was truly repentant. He wrote all-time favourite Psalm 51 to express his regret and asking the Lord to cleanse him from all unrighteousness. These excellent qualities truly portray and qualify for such exalted description of “man after God’s own heart”.

However, we can see David’s old nature (sinful nature) in the episode of Bathsheba. The scripture says “then it happened one evening when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful to behold. Moreover, David sent and inquired about the woman. Furthermore, one said, ‘Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’

So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, ‘I am pregnant’" (2 Samuel 11:2-5). The mighty fall hard, and David’s fall included sinful schemes, deceptions, stealing, adultery, lying, murder and cover-up of his sinful activities. Within this episode, he committed all sorts of sins and sins kept compounding. He lost his intimacy and fellowship with the Lord. He spent a year in absolute desperation - “dark times of his soul”. Interestingly, even though Bathsheba became David’s wife, in the scriptures, she has always been referred as Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.

However, the Lord in His mercy sent the Prophet Nathan to warn him and bring him back into His fellowship. Nathan told him a parable to make him realise his sinful nature and the crimes he had committed. Praise the Lord, David took this opportunity and made a confession that he had sinned against God. In 2 Samuel 12:13: “David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ Moreover, Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.’”

However, admitting our sin and asking for forgiveness is only half the equation. The other half is repentance, and David did what we should all do: repent of our sins. Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of repentance to God: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!" (Psalm 51:1-2).

 

What's next?

My beloved, be vigilant of our two natures residing in our hearts. One is willing to follow the Lord while another continuously opposes. In this instance, David was truly repentant. Let us not forget that he was a man, who just like us has sinned on a regular basis. However, despite his sin, he always loved God and sought to repent of those sins. He didn't do those sins again. He is a role model for all of us sinners who need to repent earnestly. David was indeed a man after God’s own heart. I think Prophet Nathan was a blessing to David and we too have God servants who bring the engrafted word of God to expose our sins and lead us to repentance. We thank God for sending God's servants into our lives.

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Scripture

[ecko_quote source="2 Corinthians 1:20"]For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding "Yes!" And through Christ, our "Amen" (which means "Yes") ascends to God for his glory -NLT [/ecko_quote]

Devotion

When my son was in school I promised him that I would buy him a motorbike provided he get good grades in his final exams. He got good grades, and he pushed forth his request by quoting my promise to him. I asked him to wait till he completes his theory and practical exams alongside a crash course on how to be a responsible and defensive driver. This process made him a bit nervous at times but also anxious about if or not I will fulfil my promise to him. During the course, I did not rush to carry out my promise at the cost of his safety and life. However, he completed the required things, and I fulfilled my promise at the same time.

God’s promises for us are always yes and amen in Christ Jesus. Sometimes when we pray for certain things our Heavenly Father immediately responds and provides it. This shows that God has considered us capable of handling the blessing and that we can be a blessing to Him. In other times His answer and provisions would be delayed. We often become impatient and lose hope. When we lose hope, faith cannot be kindled. Hope is kindling for Faith. We must remember that His delay is not a deny. In His sovereignty, he prepares us to qualify for to handle His blessings. We want an answer to our prayers without proper preparation. Therefore, waiting upon Him and cooperating with Him during the course of preparation is vital. Otherwise, we would misuse His blessings. God gives more to those faithful and good servants- "'Well done!' the king exclaimed. 'You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.' (Luke 19:17).

When Moses saw the two Hebrew men fighting, he intervened to settle the dispute with his Egyptian knowledge and wisdom. His knowledge and understanding were not sufficient to judge Israelites. In fear of his life, he escaped to Midian and waited for 40 years before being qualified to take up the task to lead the Israelites from the captivity. It took another 40 years for him to take them into the promised land. There are many biblical characters who waited patiently before God considered them ready for the assignment and blessings.

Often the Lord calls us aside from our work for a reason and bids us be still and learn here we go forth again to minister. There is no time lost in such waiting hours. Fleeing from his enemies the ancient King found that his horse needed to be re-shod. Prudence seemed to urge him on without delay, but higher wisdom taught him to halt a few minutes at the blacksmith’s forge, by the way, to have the shoe replaced; and although he heard the feet of his pursuers galloping hard behind, yet he waited those minutes until his charger was refitted for his flight. And the, leaping into his saddle just as they appeared a hundred yards away, he dashed away from them with the fleetness of the wind and knew that his halting had hastened his escape. A great deal is said in the Bible about waiting on God. The lesson cannot be too strongly enforced. We easily grow impatient of God’s delays. Much of our trouble in life comes out of our restless, sometimes reckless, haste. We cannot wait for the fruit to ripen, but insist on plucking it while it is green.

What's next?

There are many Divine promises which are conditioned upon the beginning of some action on our part. When we begin to obey, God will begin to bless us. The ten lepers were told to show themselves to the priest, and as they went they were cleansed. If they have waited to see the cleansing come in their flesh before they would start, they would have never seen it. God was waiting to cleanse them; and the moment their faith began to work, the blessings came.

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Scripture

[ecko_quote source="1 John 5:14-15"]Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him[/ecko_quote]

Devotion

Through the years as Pastor, Evangelist and a Bible Teacher, I have had a countless meeting with people who were going through trials and problems in their lives. Some problems were financial; some were emotional, and some were physical. When I would ask them if they had prayed concerning their situations, many times I would get the reply “yes, but I am not sure what God is going to do.” Then I would usually ask them, “why is it that you do not know what God would do?” The answer is simple -  most of the time it was because they had not searched the Scriptures to find God’s will.

During one of my counselling, one man said to me “uncle you know I am married, but I do not like my wife anymore, but there is another woman I feel God wants me to marry. Would you pray with me about this?”. Without so much as blinking an eye, I responded, “Frankly, there is no need to pray. God is not going to change His word for you. His word says one woman for one man till death do you part. Now, go work on your marriage”.

Without a doubt, the most important factor in finding God’s will is the Bible itself. God speaks to us not in some loud voice, but through the scriptures. First, the Scriptures declares He does have a definite will for my life. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23). “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go” (Psalm 32:8). Secondly, God desires us to know His will for our lives. “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:17). Thirdly, God’s will be specific. “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “this is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21).

God is a good God, and every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1:17). God wants to bless His children and even sent His Son, Jesus, to redeem them from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13). Jesus came to preach good news to the poor, and that good news is freedom from poverty. He preached healing to the sick and restoration to the broken hearted. So when it comes to certain things, we know the will of God. We need to obey His will that will bring blessings.

For example, if you are sick, we know that God said in Psalm 103:3 that “I am the God who heals thee.” So when we pray, we pray to be healed. If the problem is poverty, we know that God takes pleasure in the prosperity of His saints, so we pray for prosperity (Psalm 35:27). If the problem is a broken heart or an emotional issue, we know that the Scripture says God sent Jesus to the earth and was anointed to heal the brokenhearted (Luke 4:18).

In all of these things, we can pray in the understanding with confidence because He has promised them to us, so obviously they must be His will for us. He would not promise us something unless He desired for us to have it.

What's next?

Do you want to know God’s will? Then here’s your test: How much time do you spend in God’s Word? Do you think God really believes you when you say “I want to know the will of God,” but you do not read the one book above all books that God has specifically written to show you His will, to reveal His will to you, to unfold His will to you? Romans 12:2 tells us, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

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Scripture

[ecko_quote source="Psalm 22:8"]I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will guide you with My eye[/ecko_quote]

Devotion

In my hometown, there was a wealthy business man. He had a stake in several manufacturing fields including the vast land of agriculture. He had more than 15 children from his probable three wives. He looked after everything himself and prospered. One of his sons was my classmate, as we studied in the same school. The businessman became old and died. After mourning period was over his children and wives searched their family homes and found an enormous amount of cash and jewellery. However, the real problem started regarding shares as their father did not write a  will. Despite best efforts by elders and friends, the family could not come to an agreement. This caused fights and misunderstandings between children. Some of them forcibly occupied certain properties, and they fought each other in the streets.

Finally, police intervened and referred the matter to court. The courts took their own time and ceased all properties and assets. These three families now were left with nothing and even their day to day survival with their regular income became an issue. Despite accumulated vast wealth for the household, the story illustrates a story of an earthly father who left the family in the desperate situation. All because he did not leave behind his will.

However, our Heavenly Father did not leave His children without making it clear what they suppose to do on this planet. As earthly parents when we hand over some important work to our children we will make sure several times of what they understood before sending them to execute it. How much more does our Heavenly Father do to make His will clear towards His dear children? God is not trying to hide His will from us, but He wants to reveal it. Further, God wants to reveal His will more than we want to know it. The best way to understand any subject matter often begins with a definition. Then lets first know what God's will is? God’s will is “ holy and stated the purpose of the Father to make His dear children as much like Christ as possible”. This is the bottom line and the fundamental of God’s will.

Once we I understand God’s will the Christian life is not difficult. The same Christ who lived a perfect, obedient, and sinless life stands prepared to live it again through you (Galatians 2:20). God’s will is not hard to discern. He has given us the Scriptures, which reveal His will and He has placed His Holy Spirit within us to guide us to His perfect will in every situation (John 16:13). Our greatest challenge will be to wholly commit our lives to follow God’s will obediently as He reveals it. Sadly most (if I could use this word) of us would not read, nor listen to the whispering voice of the Holy Spirit and yet have a greater desire to know His will. How could it be possible to know besides these two primary sources (Bible and Holy Spirit)?

Israelites, on their journey to the promised land,  when Moses, gathered them around Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. God gave detailed instructions. So there was no mistake in what was expected of them. Then God asked them to make a choice.If they chose to obey, they would receive His blessings. If they chose to disobey His commands, they would face His wrath.

What's next?

God’s Word comes to you in the same way. It is not too complex to understand. The question is, how will you respond? Nowhere in Scripture, God excused disobedience because His instructions were too vague or complex. Condemnation came because they knew exactly what God wanted them to do, yet they chose not to do it! God, through His Holy Spirit, will always give you sufficient revelation and strength to take the next step with Him. If you are uncertain about what God is asking of you, make sure that you are obeying all that you do know; and through your obedience, God’s next instructions will become clear. Knowing God’s will is sometimes difficult because it requires patience. He reveals to us one step at a time.

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Scripture

[ecko_quote source="Psalm 143:8-9 "] Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You. Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; In You I take shelter[/ecko_quote]

Devotion

During World War II, a US marine got separated from his unit on a Pacific Island. The fighting was intense and in the midst of the smoke and the crossfire he had lost touch with his comrades. Alone in the jungle, he could hear enemy soldiers heading in his direction. Scrambling for cover, he found his way up to a high ridge which had several small caves in the rock. Quickly he crawled inside one of the caves.

Although safe for that moment, he realised that once the enemy soldiers sweep up the ridge, they would quickly also search the caves and he would be killed. As he waited, he prayed, "Lord, if it is your will, please protect me. Whatever your will,  I love you and trust you. Amen."

After praying, he lay quietly listening to the enemy that was drawing close. He thought, "Well, I guess the Lord isn't going to help me out of this one." Then he saw a spider that began to build the web over the opening of his cave. As he watched, listening to the enemy searching for him all the while, the spider layered strand after strand of the web across the opening of the cave. "Ha," he thought. "What I need is a brick wall and what the Lord has sent me is a spider web. God does have a sense of humour."

As the enemy drew closer, he watched from the darkness of his hideout and could see them searching one cave after another. As they came to his cave, he got ready to make his last stand. To his amazement, however, after glancing in the direction of his cave, they moved on. Suddenly, he realised that with the spider web over the entrance, his cave looked as if no one had entered for quite a while. "Lord, forgive me," the young man prayed. "I had forgotten that, in you, a spider's web is stronger than a brick wall."

God's resources to protect you are vast. When you pray for protection, believe that He hears you and is able to implement it with great skill, and even perhaps a stroke of humour.

To be God's people means to be the protected ones. Not all on earth are God's people - only we who are redeemed by the blood of Christ. During times of uncertainties, God says to you, "You shall be My people." This means that you are protected from all pestilences, plagues, attacks and destruction. Even when you hear people say that the economic crisis is coming, God says to you, "You shall be My people." This means that you don't have to worry or be anxious. The crisis will not affect you.

What's next?

Regardless of the situation in the world, you are protected, and you will walk in the blessings of God. God's power comes into every challenge you face when He says to you, "I will be your God, and you shall be My people." You will experience the supernatural life. Your part is to believe what He declares and act like it is so!

Story from: George Whitten.

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Scripture

[ecko_quote source="Matthew 6:14-15 "] For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses[/ecko_quote]

Devotion

During my first employment in New Zealand, the owner of the business advised me never forget to say “sorry” and “thank you” in my life. Since then, these two precious words not only became my ultimate treasure but had been a tremendous help in my pilgrim progress. Also, I always remember what a young boy Sameer (late Pastor Vipul’s son) said: “Everybody does mistakes, but only good people say SORRY”. How true it is and what a great insight it brings forth!

“Please pardon me”, “Please forgive me” and “I am sorry” are all really hard phrases to come from one's heart. These words only belong to the humble. For a true child of God, these words should always come quickly and from within their heart. Such a life depicts the love of God and reveals Christ-likeness. One can make one or many mistakes, yet the most important thing is to realise and set them right again.

Saying sorry enables you to move ahead spiritually. There is nothing wrong in admitting our mistakes and wrongdoings even though sometimes it may not, after all, be our doings (Mathew 5:23-24). Saying sorry whether we are right or wrong is truly a sharp rebuke to keep Satan out. “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us” for we are not ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). Saying sorry, therefore is a type of strength which enables us to press on in our spiritual journey, going from strength to strength – victory to victory.

However, to the man of this world, to the evildoers and the wicked, saying sorry is foolishness and cowardice. Forgiveness is not and never can be found in them. As John Wilkes Booth, who shot Abraham Lincoln dead, was known to have said: “My pistol should apologise to Abraham Lincoln”. For some, saying sorry today may seem hard, impossible and foolish. Self-justification or pride has set itself hard and deep. Proud people cannot utter this precious word. Such individuals can only be heard uttering this countlessly like the rich man in hell (Luke 16:24) crying out – I am Sorry, I am truly Sorry, I really am Sorry- such deep cries or groaning are of no avail, as it would be too late.

Therefore, let us be the first, fast and quick to say “Sorry” today to one and all in any situation that calls for it and you will never regret it. It is grand, majestic and invaluable for a true child of God who is getting ready to meet our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in his second coming. Hell is fire, always burning, but even in hell, it would be a chilly day when we say “sorry” to whom so ever concern while we are here on this earth. Saying “sorry” is only confessing that “please forgive me”.

Jesus warned that we should expect forgiveness from God as we forgive those who sin against us, for God will forgive us in the same way we forgive others (Matthew 6:15). God’s nature is forgiveness (Exodus 34:6-7). If we are to be His disciples, we must follow His example. If God forgives our most relentless enemy, we can do nothing less. Jesus did not say that certain offences are unworthy of our forgiveness. We have no biblical excuse for allowing unforgiveness into our hearts.

What's next?

If you choose to withhold forgiveness from someone, your worship and prayers are futile (Matthew 5:23-24). Ask God to make you aware of those dark corners in your life where you are harbouring resentment. A keen awareness of your own need for forgiveness will put the offences of others in their proper light. Ask God to make you Christlike so that, even when you are being persecuted, you can pray, “Father, forgive them.”

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