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Post  Admin on Thu 21 Jul 2011, 1:32 pm

July 21, 2011

Take Control
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read 1 Samuel 31:1--13

Behind the great tragedy of Saul's life is a very interesting analogy---an analogy between Saul's death and Christ's death. At first glance we might say, "What in the world would we find common to both Saul and Christ?" Actually, there are six analogies worth noting.

First, Saul's death appeared to be the end of all national hope. When Saul died, many people must have thought, That's the end of Israel. The Philistines will surely conquer us now. In a similar way, Christ's death appeared to be the end of all national and spiritual hope.

Second, with Saul's death it seemed that the adversary had won the final victory. When Christ died, it seemed as though the Adversary of our souls had won. He must have strutted all over the gates of hell declaring, "The victory is mine. I am the conqueror. The Messiah is dead."

Third, Saul's death paved the way for an entirely new plan of operation and ushered in David's kingly line, which led to the Messiah. When Jesus Christ died, a whole new operation moved into action and set in motion our great salvation.

Fourth, Saul's death opened the opportunity for another who would not otherwise have been included in God's line of blessing, namely David. Christ's death graciously opened the opportunity of salvation's blessing to the Gentile who would never have otherwise been able to enter and come boldly to the throne of grace.

Fifth, Saul's death ended an era of dissatisfaction and failure. Christ's death ended an era of law and guilt, introducing an entirely new arrangement based on grace.

Sixth, and finally, Saul's death displayed the foolishness of man. Christ's death displayed, in human terms, the foolishness of God. Through the "foolishness" of God's plan, He brings to pass the incredible. He takes the preached word and He changes lives because of His Son's death.

It is quite possible the Lord is saying to some Sauls who are in the process of living out that kind of regrettable life, "Now is the time to stop." It is time to say, "Lord, don't change sides, just take over." We do, indeed, come before our Lord like sheep, not asking Him to take sides, but just to take control.



Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 20 Jul 2011, 4:38 pm

July 20, 2011

Your Epitaph
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read 1 Samuel 31:1--13

What do you think those who survive you will write as your epitaph? How will your obituary read? What words will be used in the eulogy to sum up your life? Saul's epitaph was a sad one, summing up the tragic life of this man who played such an important role in David's life. He was a king who could have been David's role model and mentor, but who instead almost became his murderer.

Like Saul and his sons, we are all going to die. There's no escaping it. That means that rather than denying death, we must come to terms with it.

Sometimes death is sudden. Sometimes it's long and drawn out. Occasionally, it is beautiful, sweet, and peaceful. At other times it is wrenching and hideous, bloody and ugly. There are times, from our viewpoint, it comes too early. On other occasions it seems the cold fingers of death linger too long as some dear soul endures pain and sadness, loneliness and senility. But however it comes . . . it comes to us all. There is no escape.

But here's the good news for Christians: We who know the Lord Jesus Christ carry within ourselves a renewed soul and spirit, that part of us which He invaded at the moment we were born from above---when we became Christians. He has taken up His residence there and has given us a new nature. Though our outer shell hurts and groans and is dying, our inner person is alive and vital, awaiting its home with the Lord. That connection occurs the moment---yes, the very moment---we die.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16--18)


What role are you playing today? Is it authentic? Is it genuinely Christian? If so, let me return to the questions I asked as you began this reading for today. What do you think those who survive you will write as your epitaph? How will your obituary read? What words will sum up your life?



Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Tue 19 Jul 2011, 4:12 pm

July 19, 2011

"A Very Present Help"
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read 1 Samuel 30:1--6

David had reached the point in life where some people think of taking their own lives. He was so far down the ladder of despair that he'd reached the bottom rung. The last stop. The place where you either jump off into oblivion or you cry out to God for His forgiveness. For rescue. The wonderful thing is that we do have that choice, because God never gives up on His children.

David made the right choice. "David was greatly distressed . . . But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God" (1 Samuel 30:6).

Now you're talking, David. That's the way to endure the Slough of Despond. The pits may seem bottomless, but there's hope above. Reach up! Help is there.

For the first time in months, David looks up, and he says, "Oh, God, help me." And He does. He always will. He is "a very present help" when needed.

Dark days call for right thinking and vertical focus. That's what David learns at this moment in his life. He finds that the test isn't designed to throw him on his back and suck him under, it's designed to bring him to his knees so he will look up.

Perhaps you have known the joys and ecstasies of walking with Christ, but in a moment of despondency, you've opted for the wrong fork in the road, and you're now living in the wrong camp . . . you're living in the "carnal corral." In the words of the prophet, you've been like those who "sow the wind and . . . reap the whirlwind" (Hosea 8:7).

But, like David, you've gotten tired of feeling displaced. The disillusionment has bred distrust, and the depression is killing you.

Reach up. Come home. The Father is waiting at the door, ready to forgive and willing to restore. It's time to return and strengthen yourself, yet again, in the Lord your God.



Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Mon 18 Jul 2011, 3:21 pm


July 18, 2011

He'll Handle It
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read 1 Samuel 25:35--38

Mission accomplished! Everybody wins. David and his men go back full of food and all the wiser. Fantastic! Abigail goes home, and her husband puts his arm around her and says, "Honey, thanks. You're a great lady . . . more precious than rubies." No. I wish it said that. On the contrary.

Then Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; so she did not tell him anything at all until the morning light. But in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him so that he became as a stone. (1 Samuel 25:36--37)

She had stood between her husband and death, but the fool was so drunk she couldn't even tell him about it. So she crawled in bed, pulled up the covers, and went to sleep. I'm sure she poured out her heart to God and got things squared away between herself and the Lord, realizing she might never know what it was like to have a husband who appreciated her.

The next morning, after Nabal sobered up, she told him what had happened. And what was his reaction? The guy had a stroke. Literally. He listened to the story of how 401 guys were on the way to cut off his head, and he got really still, his eyes became glazed. I would imagine! Ten days later, "the LORD struck Nabal and he died" (25:38).

Isn't it amazing! When you do what is right, without tiring of it, God takes care of the impossible things. As we've seen, "When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him." The same could be said of a woman, of course. There is no impossible situation that God cannot handle. He won't handle it necessarily your way, but He'll handle it.



Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sun 17 Jul 2011, 11:23 am

July 16, 2011
Critical Decisions
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 25:20--28
AbigaiI knew her husband, didn't she? Everyone knew what he was like, so why hide it? Why try to cover up what he had done? She didn't. And yet she took the responsibility upon herself. "When you sent those ten men and they had that interaction with my husband, I wasn't there to give another kind of response. But I'm here now as an advocate. I'd like to stand as a mediator between this man and all of your men who have been unjustly treated."
What faith she had. She says, "David, as I look at you, I'm looking at the next king. Don't ruin your record with a murder. You're bigger than that. You have been wronged, but murder isn't the answer. Wait! Wait, David. Take what I've provided and turn around and go back."
What a speech! What a plea! When you're faced with critical decisions, sometimes you have to do something very creative. Apart from the Bible, there's no handbook that tells you what to do when those times come.
Often when we are faced with a crisis, the standard, garden-variety answer is to sort of tuck your tail between your legs, run into a corner, and let cobwebs form on you. But there is a better way. As long as you have breath in your lungs, you have a purpose for living. You have a reason to exist. No matter how bad that track record might have been, marked by disobedience and compromise through much of your life, you're alive, you're existing. And God says, "There's a reason. And I'm willing to do creative things through you to put you back on your feet. You can lick your wounds if that's your choice. But there's a better way." It will take creativity, it will take determination, it will take constant eyes on the Lord. But when He pulls it off, it's marvelous.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Fri 15 Jul 2011, 3:12 pm

July 15, 2011
Wise Protection
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 25:1--19
Four hundred men! That'll probably handle Nabal, don't you think? When you overdo something in our house, we have a saying, "You're killing a roach with a shotgun." You kill the roach all right, but you blow the wall out at the same time. Hey, nobody puts on a sword just to have a discussion, so we have a pretty good idea what's going through David's mind here. But talk about overkill! There's no need to take four hundred men to squash one tightwad. David has lost control.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, put yourself in Abigail's sandals. Candidly, this could be her opportunity to get rid of an obnoxious loser of a husband! She gets word from the servants that David is going to finish him off. She could say something spiritual like, "Oh, I better pray about this." Those thundering hoofbeats are coming down the hill, and she's in there praying, "Lord, take him swiftly!" It's her chance! After all, Nabal has set himself up for this! It's time he learned a lesson.
That's the way a carnal wife (or a carnal husband) thinks. That's the way a carnal employee thinks. "Now's my chance. He's vulnerable, and it's all his fault anyway. How great is this?" Depravity on parade. Instead, observe what happens.
But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying, "Behold, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, and he scorned them. Yet the men were very good to us, and we were not insulted, nor did we miss anything as long as we went about with them, while we were in the fields. They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the time we were with them tending the sheep. Now therefore, know and consider what you should do, for evil is plotted against our master and against all his household; and he is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him." (1 Samuel 25:14--17)
Note that the messengers come to Abigail, not to Nabal. Why? Because he wasn't approachable. That's another indication of Abigail's wisdom. She sees her husband for what he is. She knows his weaknesses. And in his weakest moment, Abigail did not fight, she protected. How gracious of her . . . how wise!

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Thu 14 Jul 2011, 5:54 pm

July 14, 2011
Revenge or Forgiveness?
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 24:8--22
All this brings me to three helpful principles to live by when it comes to life's most subtle temptation. Each is worth remembering when we are mistreated.
First, since man is depraved, expect to be mistreated. The same nature that beat in the heart of Saul beats in the heart of every person, yourself included. When we are operating our lives in the flesh, we will respond like Saul. Or, if you are the person who's doing the mistreatment, the offense, come to terms with it. Call it sin.
Second, since mistreatment is inevitable, anticipate feelings of revenge. I'm not saying retaliate. I'm saying anticipate the feelings of revenge, because you can be sure they will come. It's the nature of the beast. Handling mistreatment doesn't come naturally. Which is why Jesus' statement is so revolutionary: "Do unto others as you would have them do to you"---not as they do to you. Rare is the individual who will not retaliate, or at least not want to.
Third, since the desire for revenge is predictable, refuse to fight in the flesh. That explains how David came out on top. His men said, "Go get him, David." He almost did, I'm convinced. But when he came near the king, he got cold feet and just cut off a piece of robe instead of plunging his knife in Saul's back. Then he made it right.
Let's leave the ancient scene and bring this truth home to rest today. If you are resentful of the way someone has treated you, if you are holding it against that person, hoping you can retaliate at least or get even, you need to ask God to free you from that bondage. The secret, plain and simple? Forgiveness! Claim God's power to forgive through Jesus Christ. Begin by asking His forgiveness for excusing and cultivating that deep root of bitterness within your own heart. Ask Him to expose it in all its ugliness and put it to death. Jesus Christ, who went through hell for you, can give you the power you need to overcome the worst kind of condition in your life.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 13 Jul 2011, 11:57 am

July 13, 2011
A Clear Conscience
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 24:8--21
David told Saul the whole unvarnished truth; he told it to the person to whom it mattered most. Not to his comrades or to Saul's friends or to the people of Israel but to Saul himself. He came to terms with the individual with whom there was the battle. Then he said, "May the LORD judge between you and me, and may the LORD avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you" (1 Samuel 24:12).
David wasn't dangling his righteousness before Saul. David wasn't built like that. He was a man of integrity. He said, "Saul, I could have taken your life, but I didn't. And here's the proof. When you were vulnerable, I didn't strike. I will let God judge between you and me."
Read Saul's response slowly and thoughtfully:
Saul called back, "Is it really you, my son David?" Then he began to cry. And he said to David, "You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil. Yes, you have been wonderfully kind to me today, for when the Lord delivered me into your hand, you didn't kill me. Who else in all the world would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the Lord reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today." (1 Samuel 24:16--19 TLB)
Talk about a living example of the proverb, "When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him" [16:7].
Now wait a minute. Let's revisit reality. This is one case study. I wish I could promise you that when you do what is right, your enemy will always see the error of his ways this quickly and turn and repent and view you correctly, but I can't make that kind of promise.
You're responsible for telling a person the truth, but it is impossible to make him change his opinion. Frankly, that person may die believing the lie. But down inside your heart you will know the fulfillment of that sense of righteous dealings. Your conscience will be clear.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Tue 12 Jul 2011, 2:00 pm

The Art of Persuasion
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 24:1--7
Here we see a guy who did the right thing and brought a whole group with him. He persuaded them with his words. The literal meaning here, strange as it may seem, is "tore apart." He tore them apart with his words. The same Hebrew word is used in Isaiah 53 where we read, "He was wounded for our transgressions." It means pierced through, torn apart, ripped up.
I have a feeling that David's men didn't just stand together and mildly say, "You think you should have done that?" No, their dialogue must have been heated.
"Don't be a fool, David!"
"DAVID, the guy's done everything but take your life."
"Look, I can't do it!"
Back and forth, back and forth they argued, but David stood for a righteous principle until their argument was torn apart. They were persuaded. Remember this when you are hanging in the balance somewhere. Maybe in your profession or business. Perhaps in the way you've done your studies or carried on your lifestyle. You've compromised and sort of waltzed along on very thin wires of rationalization, and you've begun to lean. And God says, "You have no business doing that. Get back where you belong."
Hey, who knows whom you could persuade if you walked with God? Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with every day need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just spot-on clean living. Honest-to-goodness, bone-deep, nonhypocritical integrity. Authentic obedience to God.
David persuaded the men because, ultimately, he had absolute confidence in God. He wrestled with his guilt, hung his life on a righteous principle, and then stood fast in absolute confidence in God to make the situation right, even in the face of the opposition. "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. David put his confidence in that.
David's son Solomon would later write in his Proverbs, "When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him" (16:7). What a promise! The word "easy" is not in Proverbs 16:7, however. It's true, but it's not easy.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Mon 11 Jul 2011, 1:36 pm

July 11, 2011

A True Friend
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 23:14--18
What a friend Jonathan was! No pettiness, no envy, no jealousy. Remember, as Saul's son, Jonathan would have been the heir apparent. He might have wanted the praise of the people, yet here was this kid from the hills of Bethlehem garnering all of it. Still, Jonathan stood in defense of his friend against his own father, who was ready to take David's life. This is what we might call theology at its most basic level. This is putting shoe leather to your belief, to your faith. He stood in his defense because he was his friend. Here we are again---back to their great friendship.
Friends give each other complete freedom to be themselves. When you've got a friend that close, that knitted to your own soul, you don't have to explain why you do what you do. You just do it, and your friend understands.
When your heart is broken, you can bleed all over a friend like this, and he won't be offended. He won't confront you in your misery or quote three Bible verses, then tell you to straighten up.
When your good friend is hurting, let him hurt. If she feels like weeping, let her weep. If a good friend needs to complain, listen. An intimate friend doesn't bail; he's right there with you. You can be yourself, no matter what that self looks like.
True friends are a constant source of encouragement. "Now David became aware that Saul had come out to seek his life while David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. And Jonathan, Saul's son, arose and went to David at Horesh, and encouraged him in God" (1 Samuel 23:15--16).
Think of that. There was a hit man after David, and his name was Saul (Jonathan's father!). David was out in the wilderness, and at any moment, behind any bush or rock or hill, Saul and his men might have been lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike him down. The murderous hatred of Saul haunted David's life.
And what does the son of this hit man do? He encourages his friend. Wow! That's the kind of friend to have. He sees David at the lowest moment of his life, frightened, beleaguered, stumbling through the wilderness, and he brings him encouragement. "I understand how that feels. You have every right to have those feelings. There'll be a brighter day some day, but right now I'm here with you, no matter what."

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sat 09 Jul 2011, 4:10 pm

uly 9, 2011

Declaration of Dependence
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 22:3-23; Psalm 34 and 57
We looked at Psalm 142. Now let's look at two others David wrote, Psalms 57 and 34. We don't know in what order he wrote these, but looking at his life, they seem to fit in this backward order---Psalm 142 when he was at his lowest moment on his face, Psalm 57 when he's on his knees, and finally Psalm 34 when he's back on his feet.
At this point, David is on his knees. He's still down, but at least he's looking up.
See where David's eyes are now? "O God, You be exalted." In Psalm 142 he's saying, "I'm in the cave, I'm at the end, there's no one on the right hand or left. I have no one who cares." And now in Psalm 57 he says, "Now you be gracious to me, God. I'm stretched, I'm pulled beyond my limits. Please meet my needs." He's crying out his declaration of dependence.
Why did such a major change take place in David's life and attitude?
First, because David hurt enough to admit his need. When you are hurting, you need to declare it to someone, and especially to the Lord. David hurt enough to admit his need.
Second, he was honest enough to ask for help. We have lived under such a veneer for so long in our generation that we hardly know how to ask for help. But God honors such vulnerability. He did then, and He does now.
And third, he was humble enough to learn from God. How tragic it is that we can live in one cave after another and not learn what God wants to teach us. Not David! I love the man's utter humility. If it is to be a cave, then let's not fight it. We'll turn it into a training ground for the future!
As I look at this time in David's life, I cannot help but reflect upon Jesus and His coming from the glories of heaven to accept a bunch of malcontents and sinners like us.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Fri 08 Jul 2011, 5:44 pm

July 8, 2011
Never Alone
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 21:10--22:2; Psalm 142
David had bottomed out. This was the lowest moment of David's life to date, and if you want to know how he really felt, just read the song he composed during those days, Psalm 142.
Can you feel the loneliness of that desolate spot? The dampness of that cave? Can you sense David's despair? The depths to which his life has sunk? There is no escape. There is nothing left. Nothing.
Yet in the midst of all this, David has not lost sight of God. He cries out for the Lord to deliver him. It's here we catch sight of the very heart of the man, that inward place that God alone truly sees, that unseen quality that God saw back when He chose and anointed the young shepherd boy from Bethlehem.
David has been brought to the place where God can truly begin to shape him and use him. When the sovereign God brings us to nothing, it is to reroute our life, not to end it. Human perspective says, "Aha, you've lost this, you've lost that. You've caused this, you've caused that. You've ruined this, you've ruined that. End your life!" But God says, "No. No. You're in the cave. But that doesn't mean it's curtains. That means it's time to reroute your life. Now's the time to start anew!" That's exactly what He does with David.
Here he is, broken, at the end, without crutches . . . crushed in spirit. And would you look who comes to him? Those same brothers and his father along with the rest of the household. Sometimes when you're in the cave, you don't want others around. Sometimes you just can't stand to be with people. You hate to admit it publicly; in fact, you usually don't. But it's true. Sometimes you just want to be alone. And I have a feeling that at that moment in his life, this cave dweller, David, wanted nobody around. Because if he wasn't worth anything to himself, he didn't see his worth to anybody else.
David didn't want his family, but they came. He didn't want them there, but God brought them anyway. I love it that they crawled right into that cave with him.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Thu 07 Jul 2011, 3:36 pm

July 7, 2011

Walking in Victory
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 18:8--15
As fear and worry intensified, Saul became paranoid. "What more can he have now but the kingdom?" His self-talk lost control. "Hey, I've got a problem on my hands. Here's a giant-killer who's about to become a king-killer. What can I do about that?" He's afraid of his own shadow.
That's Saul. Within a matter of hours, he "looked at David with suspicion from that day on." When imagination is fueled by jealousy, suspicion takes over . . . and at that point, dangerous things occur.
David has done nothing to deserve that kind of treatment! He has served God, killed a giant, submitted himself to his superior, and behaved properly. In fact, verse 15 says, "When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him."
Why? Because Saul saw that God was on David's side, and he realized that he, himself, didn't have that kind of power. The contrast was more than he could handle.
The Bible is so practical, isn't it? Jealousy is a deadly sin, and the suspicion of Saul shackled him in its prison. Because he operated in that tight radius of fear, worry, and paranoia, Saul's great goal in life became twisted. Instead of leading Israel onto bigger and better things, he focused on only one objective: making David's life miserable.
Being positive and wise is the best reaction to an enemy. When you see your enemy coming, don't roll up your mental sleeves, deciding which jab you will throw. Remember how David handled Saul. David just kept prospering---just kept behaving wisely. And when the heat rose, he fled the scene. He refused to fight back or get even.
So if you are rubbing shoulders with a jealous individual, whether it be a roommate, a boss, a friend, or even a partner, remember the model of David.
It boils down to this: walking in victory is the difference between what pleases us and what pleases God. Like David, we need to stand fast, to do what is right without tiring of it. Plain and simple, that's what pleases God. And in the final analysis, isn't that why we're left on earth?

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 06 Jul 2011, 11:12 am

July 6, 2011

A Teachable Spirit
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 18:5--16
They were singing and dancing in the streets, welcoming and honoring this young man who had defended the name of their God. If there is a single statement that best describes David at this time in his life, it would be this one: "David was prospering in all his ways for the LORD was with him" (1 Samuel 18:14).
Four times in this one chapter we read that David "prospered." That interested me, so I looked up the Hebrew word sakal from which "prospered" is derived. I discovered two insightful things about that term. Proverbs 10:19 reveals the first: "When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise [sakal]."
A person who is wise (who prospers) knows how to keep his mouth shut. He can keep confidences when people say, "Look, don't share that." That's another characteristic of a good friend, by the way. A good friend can be trusted with the details of your life; he keeps his mouth closed.
Furthermore, when he opens his mouth, he opens it with discretion. That's a sign of a sakal person. That was David.
And the second insight is in Proverbs 21:11: "When the scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise; but when the wise is instructed [sakal], he receives knowledge."
The sakal person is teachable. Again, that's the kind of man David was. He was wise because he guarded his lips, and he maintained a teachable spirit. No matter how fast the promotion or how high the exaltation may be, we are never to lose our teachability. We never reach a level where we are above criticism or we no longer need the input of others. And, frankly, there are times when our best lessons can be learned from our enemies.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Tue 05 Jul 2011, 4:16 pm

July 5, 2011

A Kindred Spirit
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 18:1--4
God knew that David needed an intimate friend to walk with him through the valley that was ahead of him. Intimate friends are rare in life. Often we have only one, occasionally two, usually not more than three in our entire lives. There's something about an intimate friend that causes your souls to be knit together. It's what we call a kindred spirit.
You don't have to beg a close friend for a favor, which was certainly the case with Jonathan. "Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt" (1 Samuel 18:4).
He wanted to give David something that belonged to him and was meaningful to him. Friends do that. They're never stingy with their possessions. Later, Jonathan says to David, "Whatever you say, I will do for you" (20:4). That's the promise of an intimate friend. You can hardly impose on an intimate friend. He doesn't keep score. An intimate friend is there to assist whenever and in whatever way is needed. Unselfishness prevails.
An intimate friend is a loyal defense before others. He's not a fair-weather friend. He won't talk against you when you're not around. It says, "Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father" (19:4). That was very significant, because Saul was not only the king and Jonathan's father, but also, by that time, Saul had determined to be David's enemy. Yet Jonathan stood up to his father and said, "Dad, you're wrong about David." In fact, he not only defended his friend, he also rebuked his father for his attitude toward David.
What a friend Jonathan was! No pettiness, no envy, no jealousy. After all, Jonathan, as Saul's son, might have been the heir apparent. He might have wanted the praise of the people, yet here was this kid from the hills of Bethlehem, garnering all of it. Still, Jonathan stood in defense of his friend against his own father, who was ready to take David's life. This is what we might call bottom-line theology. This is putting shoe leather to your belief, to your faith. He stood in his defense because he was his friend.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

July 4, 2011

“Trust Me”
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 17:48--51
All David had was a sling and a stone as he took on a giant wearing two hundred pounds of armor. It may seem silly, but that's the way God operates. In the final analysis, there was a whoosh, whoosh, whoosh---one stone flew through the air, and that's all there was to it. Goliath fell like a sack full of sand. Got any more giants?
I don't know what your intimidating giant is today. It may relate to your job, your roommate, or your school. Maybe it is a person, a lawsuit, unemployment, a disaster . . . maybe even your own partner in life. Perhaps it is some fear that is lurking around the corner, sucking your energy and draining your faith. God is saying to you right now, "All I ask of you is five smooth stones and a sling of faith. I'll take it from there. You don't have to wear somebody else's armor. You just trust Me. And I'll strip you down to nothing but faith, and then I'll accomplish a victory where I'll get the glory. But as for you . . . you trust Me."
Perhaps you don't know what lies across the valley. Maybe you can't get a handle on what that giant is; but it's there, haunting you. That uncertainty alone is a giant. But look at that worry in comparison to the Lord God Himself, and say, by faith, "The battle is Yours, Lord. It is Your battle. I lean on You. I give You all my weapons, all my skills, and I stand before You, trusting You."
It is God's love for us that causes Him to bring us to an end of our own strength. He sees our need to trust Him, and His love is so great that He will not let us live another day without surrendering our arms to Him, giving Him our fears, our worries, even our confusion, so that nothing becomes more significant to us than our Father.
Never, ever forget it: the battle is the Lord's!

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sun 03 Jul 2011, 11:20 am

July 2, 2011
Unique Techniques
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 17:17--39
Man is impressed with the externals; he doesn't see the heart. God is different. He doesn't judge by appearance or intelligence. King Saul hadn't learned that, however, so he looked at David and said, "You don't have the size for it. You're just a kid. Look over there at that giant!"
As I picture it, David was blinking and thinking, What giant? The only giant in my life is God. That's a dwarf over there, Saul. God is not impressed with the externals; He looks on the heart. God is omnipotent! And if He's on my side, omnipotence can't lose.
So often, when facing our own giants, we forget what we ought to remember, and we remember what we ought to forget. We remember our defeats, and we forget the victories. Most of us can recite the failures of our lives in vivid detail, but we're hard-pressed to name the specific, remarkable victories God has pulled off in our past.
Not so with David! He says, "You know why I can fight Goliath, Saul? Because the same God who gave me power over a lion and a bear will give me power over Goliath. It is God who will empower me . . . so just let me at him."
Well, that let Saul off the hook, so he says, "Go, and may the LORD be with you." Isn't it remarkable how people can use spiritual clichés to cover up their empty lives? They know all the right words to use . . . all the pious-sounding sayings. Saul sure did.
Then Saul said, "Now wait a minute, David. We have to fix you up for battle." Imagine it! You can't tell me the Bible doesn't have humor, because it says, "Saul clothed David with his garments." Here's Saul, a 52 long, and David is a 36 regular.
What works for one person will not necessarily work for someone else. We're always trying to put our armor on someone else or wear someone else's armor. But that's not the way to do battle. It was a great breakthrough in my own life when I finally discovered that I could be me and God would use me. I couldn't operate well, wearing another's armor. God provides unique techniques for unique people.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Fri 01 Jul 2011, 12:09 pm

July 1, 2011
God vs. Our Giants
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 17:1--16
"There's no reason for your entire army to be involved in this. Just send a fighter, and I'll take him on. I am the champion. I am the greatest." Goliath didn't issue this challenge one time and then leave. No. His challenge went on for forty days (17:16). Every morning and every evening for well over a month, he strutted out there, flaunting his size and his strength, daring someone to take him on.
How applicable to any "giant" we encounter! That's the way with the giants of fear and worry, for example. They don't come just once; they come morning and evening, day after day, relentlessly trying to intimidate. They come in the form of a person, a pressure, or a worry. Some of you have fear that hammers on your heart every morning and every night, day in and day out, yelling across the ravine in your own personal valley. Few things are more persistent and intimidating than our fears and our worries . . . especially when we face them in our own strength.
I want to look again at something that occurred prior to that battle, when the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). Literally, God said, "for man looks at the face, but the Lord looks at the heart."
We, being human, are subject to that same problem. We are impressed with, or not impressed with, individuals because we judge on the basis of surface appearance. We look at the externals, and we form opinions that are usually erroneous.
If God's statement ever applied, it applied in the story of this battle. Goliath had all the things that would normally impress and intimidate. In this instance, however, David had been given the ability to see as God always sees, and he was neither impressed nor intimidated. Because no matter how big the giant might be, God is greater. And no matter how powerful he might be, God is all-powerful.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

June 30, 2011

Music's Effective Ministry
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 16:21--23
God had His hand on this young man whose music not only would fill the heart of a depressed king overwhelmed by blackness, but also would someday fill His written Word. Thus, David, with his primitive stringed instrument, walked bravely into that dark place where Saul was living.
Saul was willing to try anything. "Provide a man," he says. "I don't care who it is. Bring him to me."
Somehow David's music unleashed the caged feelings inside this tormented man and then soothed the savage beast within. By the time David left him, Saul was relieved. The evil presence had departed.
God used the gift of music to put David into the very presence of the king's chamber. And the king not only found relief from his inner torturings, he found love in his heart for the young shepherd boy whose music touched his soul.
The Spirit-filled saint is a song-filled saint. And your melody is broadcast right into heaven---live---where God's antenna is always receptive, where the soothing strains of your song are always appreciated.
Never mind how beautiful or how pitiful you may sound. Sing loud enough to drown out those defeating thoughts that normally clamor for attention. Release yourself from that cage of introspective reluctance. SING OUT! SING OUT! You're not auditioning for the church choir; you're making melody with your heart to the Lord your God! If you listen closely when you're through, you may hear the hosts of heaven answering back for joy
Soft music for a hard heart, that's what David provided for Saul. That's the soul music that Christ the Savior provides, and that's the place we all must begin. He died for us. He rose from the dead to give us the desire and the power to live a positive, fulfilling life free from the clutches of human depression and despair. He is our shepherd, and we are his sheep, needing the music of his voice. We can rejoice and exult in God together. Let's do more of it!

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 29 Jun 2011, 10:58 pm

June 29, 2011

David's Unique Ability
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 16:16--18
Now that's not a bad resume, is it? He's a skilled musician; he's a man of valor; he's a warrior; he has control of his tongue; he's handsome; and the Lord is with him.
One important thing this says to me is that you should never discount anything in your past. God can pick it up and use it in the most incredible ways. You never know when something that happened years ago will open a door of opportunity into the future.
That's precisely what happened to David. There he was all alone, plucking away on his instrument, out in the fields of Judea. He'd never even met Saul, yet he's ultimately to be Saul's replacement. Get that! So God works out a way to bring them together---music! Soon David receives a message that says, "Saul wants to see you." It's incredible how it all falls together. I never cease to be amazed at how perfectly God weaves His will together without our help!
Even though Samuel had anointed David earlier, Jesse let him go back with the sheep. And now a runner comes from the king, saying, "Saul wants to see your youngest son." So Jesse releases David, but first he loads him down with gifts for the king. Now David trudges along with a donkey loaded with bread and a jug of wine and a goat, and his stringed instrument slung over his shoulder!
David didn't know it, but he was getting ready to enter boot camp on the road to becoming a king. That's the way God's program works. You may think some skill you learned or used years ago is lost, or that you've wasted all that time doing whatever, but don't you believe it. God can use what may seem to be a most insignificant part of your past and put you in exactly the right place to use that particular gift or skill.
That's the way it was with David. He never once said to Saul, "I'm gonna take your place, pal." Never once did he pull rank on Saul. He was never jealous of or pushing for the king's position. He wasn't presumptuous. He'd been anointed, but he continued to let the Lord open all the doors. Remember, David was a man after God's heart.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Tue 28 Jun 2011, 1:06 pm

June 28, 2011

God Speaks . . . We Respond
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 16:14--23
Three timeless lessons ring through my head as I look at these significant scenes in David's life.
First, God's solutions are often strange and simple, so be open. We try to make God complex and complicated. He isn't. Amid all the complications with Saul and the throne, God simply said to Samuel, "Go where I tell you to go. I've got a simple answer. A new man. You just follow Me, and I'll show you." Don't make the carrying out of God's will complicated. It isn't. Stay open to His strange yet simple solutions.
Second, God's promotions are usually sudden and surprising, so be ready. At the time you least expect it, it'll come. Just like His Son's return from heaven. Suddenly and surprisingly He will split the clouds and be with us. Just when we expect Him the least He'll be there, like a thief in the night. And that's the way His promotions are. He watches you as you faithfully carry out your tasks, and He says to you, "I know what I'm doing. In a sudden and surprising moment, you be ready. I know where you are, and I know how to find you. You just stay ready as you carry out your job."
Finally, God's selections are always sovereign and sure, so be sensitive. That applies to choosing a mate as well as losing a mate. It applies to our being moved from one place to another, even though we thought we'd remain there ten more years. It also applies to those God appoints to fill the shoes of another. How easy to second-guess God's selections! How necessary, when tempted to do that, to remind ourselves that His selections are sovereign and sure.
God is looking at your town, your city, your neighborhood, and He's looking for His people to whom He can say, "You are Mine. I want to use you there because you proved yourself faithful there." The only difference is our geography. Our calling is to be faithful in the demanding tasks, whether that is our education, our marriage, our occupation, or just the daily grind of life. That's the kind of men and women God wants to use.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


June 27, 2011

Permanent Dwelling
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 16:14--15
I think it's important that we notice that the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul before an evil spirit came. Christians read those words about "an evil spirit from God" and they fear that could happen today. I've heard evangelists use that as a tool to shock Christians. "You continue to walk in the flesh," they say, "and God will lift His Spirit from you, and you won't have God's presence within you as you once had." Then they'll quote this verse or the one in Judges 16 where Samson is in Delilah's lap, and it says, "He did not know that the LORD had departed from him." Or the one in Psalm 51:11 that says, "Do not take Your Holy Spirit from me." That's a fearful thought, that God could lift His Spirit from us and we'd be lost, having once been saved.

So let's go on record right now with a good dose of theology. Before the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost (Acts 2), the Spirit of God never permanently rested on any believer except David and John the Baptizer. Those are the only two. It was not uncommon for the Spirit of God to come for a temporary period of strengthening or insight or whatever was the need of the moment and then to depart, only to return again for another surge of the need of the moment, then to depart once again.
However, at Pentecost and from that time on, all the way through our present era, when the Spirit of God comes into the believing sinner at salvation, He never leaves. He comes and baptizes us into the body of Christ. That happens at salvation. We remain sealed by the Spirit from that time on. We're never exhorted to be baptized by the Spirit. We are baptized into the body of Christ, placed there by the Spirit, sealed until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). That's the day we die. So He's there, and He never leaves. Furthermore, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit in which the Spirit of God dwells. He permanently resides within us and will never, ever depart. So, rest easy, Christian friend. The Lord has come to stay.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sat 25 Jun 2011, 2:25 pm

June 25, 2011

Inner Qualities
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 16:11; 17:34--35
Think ahead with me to 1 Samuel 17. Here is David, standing by Saul, as a giant lumbers across the distant landscape.
Saul says, "Who are you?"
"I'm David."
Saul says, "Where have you been?"
"With my father's sheep."
Then Saul says, "You can't fight this Philistine. You're just a little kid."
Though only a teenager, David responds without hesitation:
"Your servant was tending his father's sheep [that's solitude, obscurity, monotony]. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock [that's reality], I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him." (1 Samuel 17:34--35)
Where did David get such courage? He had learned it all alone before God. What kind of man is this David? A man of reality. He's a man who remained responsible when nobody was looking.
Goliath was no big deal. Why? Because David had been killing lions and bears while nobody was around. He'd been facing reality long before he squared off against Goliath. David may have lived many centuries ago, but the things we can learn from him are as current as this morning's sunrise. Two stand out in my mind.
First, it's in the little things and in the lonely places that we prove ourselves capable of the big things. If you want to be a person with a large vision, you must cultivate the habit of doing the little things well. That's when God puts iron in your bones!
Second, when God develops our inner qualities, He's never in a hurry. When God develops character, He works on it throughout a lifetime. He's not in a rush.
It is in the schoolroom of solitude and obscurity that we learn to become men and women of God. It is from the schoolmasters of monotony and reality that we learn to "king it." That's how we become---like David---men and women after God's own heart.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Fri 24 Jun 2011, 3:39 pm

June 24, 2011
A Man of Integrity
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 16:1--11
God knew David had the quality of integrity. Today, we live in a world that says, in many ways, "If you make a good impression, that's really all that matters." But you will never be a man or woman of God if that's your philosophy. Never. You cannot fake it with the Almighty. He is not impressed with externals. He always focuses on the inward qualities, those things that take time and discipline to cultivate. God trained David for a leadership role with four disciplines.
First, God trained David in solitude. He needed to learn life's major lessons all alone before he could be trusted with responsibilities and rewards before the public. Solitude has nurturing qualities all its own. Anyone who must have superficial sounds to survive lacks depth. If you can't stand to be alone with yourself, you have deep, unresolved issues in your inner life. Solitude has a way of bringing those issues to the surface.

Second, David grew up in obscurity. That's another way God trains His best personnel---in obscurity. Men and women of God, servant-leaders in the making, are first unknown, unseen, unappreciated, and unapplauded. In the quiet context of obscurity, character is built. Strange as it may seem, those who first accept the silence of obscurity are best qualified to handle the applause of popularity.

Which leads us to the third training ground, monotony. That's being faithful in the menial, insignificant, routine, unexciting, uneventful, daily tasks of life. Life without a break . . . without the wine and roses. Just dull, plain L-I-F-E. Just constant, unchanging, endless hours of tired monotony as you learn to be a man or woman of God . . . with nobody else around, when nobody else notices, when nobody else even cares. That's how we learn to "king it."

That brings us to the fourth discipline: reality. Up until now you might have the feeling that despite the solitude, obscurity, and monotony, David was just sitting out on some hilltop in a mystic haze, composing a great piece of music, or relaxing in the pastures of Judea and having a great time training those sheep to sit on their hind legs. That's not true.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Thu 23 Jun 2011, 10:28 pm

June 23, 2011
A Humble Servant
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 16:1--11
God saw in David the quality of humility. The Lord had gone to the home of Jesse in spirit form. Jesse didn't know God was there. Nobody did. God was on a secret surveillance mission in that home, and he spotted Jesse's youngest son and said, in effect, "That's My man!"
Why? Because, as we saw before, the Lord saw in David a heart that was completely His. The boy was faithfully keeping his father's sheep. God saw humility: He saw a servant's heart. If you want further confirmation of this, go to the Psalms: "I have found David My servant; With My holy oil I have anointed him" (Psalm 89:20).
It's as if God says, "I don't care about all that slick public image business. Show me a person who has the character, and I'll give him all the image he needs. I don't require some certain temperament, I don't care if he has a lot of charisma, I don't care about size, I don't care about an impressive education or résumé. I care about character! First, is the person deeply authentic in his or her spiritual walk or is he faking it? And second, is he or she a servant?"
When you have a servant's heart, you're humble. You do as you're told. You don't rebel. You respect those in charge. You serve faithfully and quietly without concern over who gets the credit.
That's David. God looked at David, out in the fields in the foothills surrounding Bethlehem, keeping his father's sheep, faithfully doing his father's bidding, and God passed His approval on him.

I repeat, a servant doesn't care who gets the glory. Remember that. A servant has one great goal, and that is to make the person he serves look better, to make that person even more successful. A servant does not want the person he serves to fail. A servant doesn't care who thinks what, just so the job gets done.
So while David's brothers were off in the army making rank and fighting big, impressive battles, David was all alone keeping the sheep. God loved his servant's heart.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 22 Jun 2011, 1:23 pm

June 22, 2011
Nobodies into Somebodies
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 16:1--11
Paul's whole thrust in his first letter to the believers at Corinth was, "I'm not coming to you with brilliance or human wisdom, and I'm certainly not coming to you with any kind of impressive physique or profound philosophy. Instead, I come in the power of God. And there's a good reason for that." Note carefully how Paul put it:
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. (1 Corinthians 1:26--29)
Paul says, "Look around, Corinthians. You won't find many impressive people here." Why? So that no one can boast before God. That's a principle we tend to forget, because many of us are still a lot like the Greeks. When we look for people to admire as we choose our role models, our heroes, we are often swayed or impressed by things that are cause for boasting. We want the beautiful people, the brilliant people, the "successful" people. We want the best and the brightest. We are terribly enamored of the surface. The superficial still impresses us---much more than we'd like to admit. We even elect a president because he looks good on television! But God says, "That's not the way I make my choices. I choose the nobodies and turn them into somebodies."
And that, in a nutshell, is the story of how David was chosen to become a king.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Tue 21 Jun 2011, 6:02 pm

June 21, 2011
Good Directions
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 16:1--5
What was Samuel's problem? He was panic-stricken. He was just plain scared. Where were Samuel's eyes? Well, they certainly weren't on the Lord. They were riveted on Saul.
From a human viewpoint, of course, Samuel was right. King Saul was murderous. But God was completely aware of the situation. After all, Saul was the one God was going to use to shape David's life in the in-between years, between the sheep and the throne. God knew Saul very well.
By the way, do you have a Saul in your life? Is there somebody who irritates and rubs and files and scrapes and irritates you? God knows all about it. That person is all part of His plan, strange as that may seem. The Lord doesn't answer Samuel's remark about Saul. Instead, He says, "Take a heifer with you and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.' You shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate to you" (1 Samuel 16:2--3).
Follow the Leader! That's what God is saying. You don't have to be smart to be obedient. You don't have to be creative or clever. All you have to do is obey. We think we have to sort of outwit God on the horizontal. But God says, "I know your situation. I'm telling you exactly what you ought to do, so go do it. Take a heifer, go to Jesse, offer the sacrifice, and look around. I'll tell you the man I've chosen for the job." Isn't that simple?
God has some extremely exciting things in mind for His children. For some it may happen tomorrow. For some it may happen next month or next year or five years down the road. We don't know when. For some, it could happen today. But the beautiful thing about this adventure called faith is that we can count on Him never to lead us astray. He knows exactly where He's taking us. Our job is to obey, to live in close fellowship with God as we walk our earthly path. In the process of that simple arrangement, God engages us in His eternal plan.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Mon 20 Jun 2011, 11:40 pm

June 20, 2011
People Panic . . . God Provides
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 15:1--19
The tragic story of King Saul is that he never, ever fully repented of his sin. Saul's greatest concern was his image, how he looked before the people. Even after Samuel gave him a break, Saul took advantage of it and continued in that same vein until the day he took his own life. How sad is that?
Samuel has reached the end of his rope. The people elected Saul king, but he's no longer qualified. What are they to do? Israel is surrounded by enemies, and they need someone to carry the scepter. But who? Samuel didn't know and couldn't imagine. The people didn't know and had no suggestions. No one knew . . . except God.
What Samuel didn't realize---what we often don't realize---is that behind the scenes, before He ever flung the stars into space, God had today in mind. He had this very week in mind. In fact, He had you in mind. And He knew exactly what He was going to do. God is never at a loss to know what He's going to do in our situations. He knows perfectly well what is best for us. Our problem is, we don't know. And we say to Him, "Lord, if You just tell me, then I'll be in great shape. Just reveal it to me. Explain Your plan to me, and I'll count on You." But that's not faith. Faith is counting on Him when we do not know what tomorrow holds.
When a man or a woman of God fails, nothing of God fails. When a man or woman of God changes, nothing of God changes. When someone dies, nothing of God dies. When our lives are altered by the unexpected, nothing of God is altered or unexpected. It was the prophet Isaiah who wrote: "Before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear" (Isaiah 65:24).
"Before you even utter a word," God promises, "I'm involved in answering. In fact, while you're speaking, I'm involved in bringing to pass the very thing I have planned from the get go."
God knows exactly what He's going to do, and nothing can restrain His bringing it to pass.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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