God sees the Heart


The LORD told Samuel, "Don't look at his appearance or his height, for I've rejected him.
Truly, God does not see what man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance,
but the LORD sees the heart." [1 Samuel 16:7 ISV]


This is the beginning of a new chapter in Israel. Saul has been rejected as King. Samuel is looking for a new man to anoint as king. Yet he seems to still have an old regal image in mind as he looks. Consider what the prophet saw, and how it skewed his judgement, when he first came upon Saul.
"Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else." [1 Samuel 9:2]
As Samuel looks for Saul's replacement he looks for someone who looked like Saul. And as he does God stops him in his tracks by telling him that his criteria was all wrong when he chose Saul. For you see, Samuel was still looking for outward stature when he inspected all of David's brothers.

Samuel thought this when he saw one of David's brothers: “Surely the Lord's anointed is before him.” It was hard for the prophet to get passed his external image of what a leader looked like. It is hard for many of us as well. God is all about the heart. He has always wanted men and women after his own heart.

Open our inner eyes Lord to see past external images. Cause us to be a people after your own heart.


... this devotion is part of a series about King David.

Grow


Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ. Glory to the Master, now and forever! Yes! [2Peter 3:18 MSG]

Life is a continuum of growth. A baby is born with limited mental and physical capacity. Their growth in those early years is amazing. Their bodies double and triple in size. Their abilities seem to outperform their size. As these precious children head towards adulthood their growth seems to evolve.

Such is the life of one who is born from above. Like a natural child a baby believer is in need of growth. These often look like a baby who falls as they try walk. And like the child they are wired to emulate their parents. Such is the context of growing in the grace and understanding of Jesus.

We who have been born from above are wired to glorify our Heavenly Father in the same way that a child desires to please their parents. Growing in grace and understanding is all about emulating the One of whom the Father said: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

We desire to glorify you Lord. Please guide us as we grow in grace and understanding.


... this devotion is part of my series on the epistles of Peter and biblical words.

Work Hard to Live in Peace


So, my friends, while we wait for the day of the Lord, work hard to live in peace, without flaw or blemish; and look at the patience of the Lord as your salvation. [2Peter 3:14-15a VOICE]

The words, "work hard to live in peace", speak deeply to me of what it means to walk in the Spirit. It is so difficult to experience peace on the outside when we are internally bereft of it. Yet this peace is so important for anyone who desires to follow the way of Christ. It is why we must work hard for it.

When I think of working hard for something I think of the word discipline. A disciple is one who patiently trains to achieve their goal. They exercise. They build up their muscles. The have a training regimen. Such it is for those who work hard for peace. One step at a time these do the things that make for peace.

Help me to embrace the discipline of peace Lord.


... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

Where Justice Reigns


What will happen next, and what we hope for, is what God promised: a new heaven and a new earth where justice reigns. [2Peter 3:13 VOICE]


The Greek word, dikaiosynē, is translated here as justice but in other translations it is rendered as righteousness. That is understandable as as righteousness can be defined as "God's judicial approval". I love the idea that divine righteousness, or doing the right thing, is centered in divine justice.

When I think about justice reigning in heaven I think not about human justice. This flavor of justice too often looks more like retribution (i.e. an eye for an eye) than reconciliation and rehabilitation. When I think about the reign of heavenly justice I imagine a place that is filled with divine reconciliation.

Teach us Lord to pray for heavenly justice. As it is in heaven please let it be done on earth.


... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

Like a Thief in the Night


The day of the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night; and on that day, the sky will vanish with a roar, the elements will melt with intense heat, and the earth and all the works done on it will be seen as they truly are. [2Peter 3:10 VOICE]

I once read these words in a very literal sense. I believe that the only meaning to the phrase 'the day of the Lord' was the end of the world. Thinking back, it is a strange perspective. Why would Peter write about something that Christians would not experience for several millennia after he wrote it?

The more realistic meaning is summed up in acknowledging that none of us know the day of our death. That day when earth's sky will be irrelevant. When our lives on earth will be seen for what they really are. When, as Paul writes to the Corinthians, all that is not pure in our lives will be proverbially burned up. And because we do not know the time of our passing we are compelled to live every day as though it is our last.

Help us Lord to live our mortal lives with immortality in mind.


... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

Patient and Merciful


Now the Lord is not slow about enacting His promise—slow is how some people want to characterize it—no, He is not slow but patient and merciful to you, not wanting anyone to be destroyed, but wanting everyone to turn away from following his own path and to turn toward God’s. [2Peter 3:9 VOICE]

Sometimes it is so very hard to exercise patience as a parent. It can be equally difficult to show mercy to your children when they have followed their own path and rejected the things that you have taught them. It is during these times that our children most need our love, patience, understanding and mercy.

Such is the example that we have in our Heavenly Father. My own life is a testimony to how he has been patient with my religious arrogance and judging of my brothers and sisters in Christ. For years he watched as I rejected the path of humility. Eventually I began to grasp his mercy for me and for others. I began to be accepting of others. I learned how to patiently love and show mercy to them. Wishing them the very best.

Help us Lord to be people who help people turn towards you and follow your path.


... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

God’s Timetable


Don’t imagine, dear friends, that God’s timetable is the same as ours; as the psalm says, for with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day. [2Peter 3:8 VOICE]

What do you think of the idea of a timeless being having a timetable? Amusing when you consider the idea. God created everything. Including time. Apart from the rising and setting of the sun there is no point of reference for the concept. Putting God inside of time would make the created greater than the Creator.

Even so, the concept does speak to our need for patient endurance when God seems nowhere to be found. In a real sense these are the times that we need to engage faith. Not in the notion that God has a timetable but that he is greater than time. Greater than our trials. And timelessly present with us in all things.

We wait in hope Lord Jesus. Help us to sense your timeless presence today.


... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.