5/24/2018—Who Can I Encourage Today?

1 Samuel 23:16-17—And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.”

David was going through a difficult time in his life. He had done nothing wrong or even with any impure motives, yet King Saul was hunting him down to kill him. Not only had he done nothing wrong, but he had been a faithful servant of the king, one of the best. He had fought the King’s battles and soothed him when he was troubled. He was the King’s son-in-law. There was no explanation but jealousy. David never said an evil word toward the King in response to all the evil the King intended upon David. After some time of being an exile, David was discouraged. Jonathan had made a covenant of friendship with David. He risked his own standing to go out and find and encourage David. He helped him find strength in God. This is the best thing you can do for your discouraged friends. Help them find strength in God. He is the source of any genuine strength to endure. Jonathan gave him the often-repeated Biblical message, “Do not be afraid.” Many times we think all our effort is in vain. If you are being obedient to God, it is never in vain. God will see you through. Your enemies will not triumph in the end. Jonathan told David of his convictions that one-day David would reign. He could sense it was to be. Perhaps you have a discouraged friend who needs help to find strength in God. You can encourage them not to fear. You can encourage them with what you see coming in their lives. They need to look forward to what God is doing and not get bogged down in the present turmoil.

5/23/2018—Rejoice When Others Pass You Up In Service To Our King

1 Samuel 18:7-9—As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?”  And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.

The green-eyed monster, jealousy, reared its ugly head in the heart of King Saul. On the return from the battlefield, the maidens sang this song. Saul may have been a bit on edge because of Samuel’s prediction about the kingdom no longer belonging to him. This song stirred an ugly spirit up in him. He was the one they sang praise about before. Now, someone else is the chief person in the song, and he is credited with more than the king! Be careful with your words of praise for men. The enemy can use them in destructive ways. “Welcome home pastor. Your assistant did such a great job, we forgot you were gone,” a well-meaning board member says. The enemy places a wedge of competition between two people who are striving for the Kingdom of God. If one of them has an ear that will listen to the flesh, they will never be striving together again. Friendly voices have unwittingly sowed the seed of competition. Saul could never look at David the same way again. There may have been more to it than that. It may have also been backed by the fact that Saul saw in David what he had lost. He saw the love of God and faith in God’s word that once was so real to him but now seemed so distant. He saw the humility of this young man and recognized he was gone. Those are the assets that put him on the throne. Those are the assets that make you useful to God. Don’t allow words of praise for others cause jealousy in you.

5/22/2018—-Is Christ Reigning In You?

Luke 17:20-21—And when he was demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

The Jews believed the Messiah would lead them to victory over all their enemies and set up a Jewish nation like that of David’s. If Jesus was this Messiah, their natural question would be when He would begin this kingdom. Jesus’ answer shows that His perspective of the Kingdom of God is very different from theirs. As usual, they are thinking on very physical and temporal terms, whereas Jesus is speaking about spiritual realities that are eternal. Jesus told them that we would not be able to carefully watch as things changed step by step. It is not an outward event. You won’t be able to point to a specific battle or political maneuver. The Kingdom is something that takes place within a person. The Kingdom of God is established in a heart when the King of kings reigns in that heart. Then that person is a subject of the King and has entered into the Kingdom. You can see the transformation in the life of the person because he serves a new master. Jesus began His ministry preaching the same message as John. “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Since the resurrection of Jesus, the Kingdom is preached. We often hear a compromising form of the Gospel that implies you get a free ticket to heaven and go on being your own king. Is that really entering the Kingdom? The Kingdom has come to every heart in which the King reigns.

Being Faithful

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

One of the ancient covenants that remained from tribal days was this one that Jonathan entered into with David. Jonathan had the same heart of faith in God and His ability to defeat the enemies in life. When he heard David speak, his soul resonated with the same tone of faith and courage in God. He loved him as himself. He saw his own heart toward God in David. You may have felt something like this when you heard a brother or sister share their testimony. This covenant took the form of the exchange of clothing and weapons. It was, in symbolic style, saying that my possessions are yours and your enemies are mine. It is not recorded that David gave his clothes and weapons to Jonathan, but as a person of lower class and wealth, he had already committed himself to the royal family. They had entered into a covenant to defend and provide for one another. It is a wonderful gift of God when you find someone that shares your heart for ministry. They come alongside you with understanding and encouragement, and you do the same for them. This is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus, who became a man, the last Adam, in order to come alongside us. He took off his robe of glory and weapons of power to be with us. We give Him our weak and meager allegiance and He gives us His clothing of glory and weapons of light. We have entered into a friendship covenant, promising to fight side by side against our common enemy.