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I echo Mike's remarks on John's Gospel. Jesus words in yesterday's passage, "The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life." (John 6:63 NIV) seem to apply even more so to John than the other Gospels.

Jesus made some significant foundational statements in yesterday's passage, particularly in John 6:44-59. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%206:44-59&version=31

This led to grumbling and discussion among the people that continued and spread, as Mike points out, into the events of today's passage. I think these words of Jesus speak at a spiritual level. And our acceptance or dissension is a reflection of the attitude of our own spirit. Does our spirit recognise the Spirit of God and are we inclined towards Him or is our spirit already in rebellion?

Re Mike's comparison to situations today were people take positions about Jesus or Christianity in our modern world today: there are two levels to the discussion today, there are those who are rejecting Jesus and there are situations where we need to be discerning those who are trying to hijack the Gospel for their own purposes. As Jesus warned, "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible." (Mat 24:24 NIV)

But, I think if our spirits are trained to be alert and practised in discernment, we will not be misled.

Saul when faced with his sin,gave excuses....didn't see him try to repent of what he did.Samuel said "I will teach you the way that is good and right"...did Saul ever go to class?Are we too busy in our lives to learn the ways of God,too much in a race against time to wait to hear from God before we go on....just say some quick prayers(the God bless my day kind)then rush off...I'm already feeling guilty.I thank God for His mercy and His grace..
God bless you all

Reading about Samuel's commitment to pray and teach the people reminds me of the words in Acts 6:4 where the spiritual leaders of the community were devote themselves to the ministry of prayer and the Word. This passage in 1 Samuel 12:23 was brought home to me in 1976 when someone gave me a book by Andrew Murray on The Prayer Life. In that book Murray had a chapter based on this one verse "As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you." The chapter was simply called "Prayerlessness is a sin." I guess today that emphasis wouldn't go over very well but back then it inspired me to make intercessory prayer a daily practice for my personal life, my family and my ministry. It's as we pray that we are then able to 'teach you the way that is good and right." I also like the way Samuel defines what a fully devoted follower of God looks like "They 'fear the LORD' and serve him faithfully and wholeheartedly, and they live with a deep sense of gratitude. Not a bad definition to measure ourselves against. Thank you Lord for loving us as we are, but thank you too, for not leaving us there.

I thought the passage in Samuel today is sort of like a cliff hanger. The Philistines are a well-outfitted army and only Saul and Jonathon have a spear with iron....what's going to happen next?

And, we do see the problem with Saul from the beginning....not wanting to tell his father about what really happened when he was sent out to look for the donkeys, then hiding among the baggage, and now getting impatient thinking he would just offer the sacrifice himself. We know it's not going to get better.

Which, btw, this passage about Saul sinning by doing the job that should have been done by a priest does point to Christ who is a king and a priest...and sacrifice.

Been Think’in (This is loooooong)

Yesterday I mentioned that there were clues within the text of I Samuel about Saul’s character that led him down the road to end his life with a whimper. When I stated that I wasn’t sure where to find it and what to look for, or even what within the text led me to come to that conclusion, I was spouting off something I just knew within me, I had no concrete evidence. Today I believed I received what I think was a revelation, or at lest the light bulb went on.

There are two scriptures that stand out to me that explain all, in my opinion. They are:


See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up and causes you trouble, or many of you will become defiled. (Heb 12:15)

And,

But God wasn't pleased with most of them, and so they were struck down in the wilderness. Now these things became examples for us so that we won't set our hearts on evil as they did. (1Co 10:5-6),
As well as:
You must stop complaining, as some of them were doing, and were destroyed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down as a warning for us in whom the climax of the ages has been realized. (1Co 10:10-11)

OK, ok, there are more than two.

I know that some are having a hard time getting into the Old Testament, thinking what is it’s relevance ‘cause we have the New. Well, the New is based on the Old and if you are a good lawyer or contract reader, to verify that the New is better than the Old, well you gotta read the Old. [However, Jesus has now obtained a ministry that is as superior to theirs as the covenant he mediates is founded on better promises. (Heb 8:6)]

I’m into analogies so I will use the study of Botany or agriculture to lay out my case that within the Old Testament narratives, one can find the character flaws of the men and women we are reading about and that is a good thing. (See. 1 Corinthians 10: 5-6, 10-11)

Throughout the Bible the realm of the heart has been compared to Soil, the Parable of the Sower as one example, and the seed is comparable to the Word of God. I put forth that there are other types of seed and the condition of the soil of our hearts will determine what will and want grow to maturity and produce fruit. Unless one has studied agriculture or botany, planted a couple of different types of seed and watched what come up, we really have a hard time identifying what each seed will produce and even recognizing the root of a plant. Before we ever see signs of the plant, the seed in the soil or the root (and who among us can identify a plant by its roots) have already taken hold.

Now, getting back to the Old Testament: within its pages we find more narratives about people, their beginnings, and their endings then in the New. To correctly identify the sum total of anyone’s life, we must look at them in their entirety: the good the bad and the ugly. Like a plant that has matured and gone to “seed,” we can then look at the seed and determine what that seed has produced, our lives kind of parallel a plant. Was the fruit good for us, or was it poison and destructive; how did that fruit effect the environment and the other plants around it? There are probably many more questions. Taking the Old Testament characters and Saints and juxtaposing them against the Character of Jesus Christ in the New, we now have a standard by which to measure not only our lives, but the lives of those who in looking back, walked amongst us in the Old.

In an Academic sense, the Old Testament can be studied as a Grad School Level class that operates entirely as Case Studies: we know the perfect model, Jesus Christ, now we look at the others to find out where they went wrong and what they did right so we won’t make the same mistakes. In a Case Study, you begin at the end, or if the concern is still in existence, at some fixed point in the present, then you travel back toward the beginning, studying each move. Since we live in a cause and effect world, nothing just happens by itself. We don’t just roll out of bed in the morning and suddenly jump up and rob a bank, rape and murder. Working out our salvation, at least for me, is identifying, uncovering, and uprooting everything that is not of God by identifying the seed, the roots that we find in the Old.

Sorry this is so long, but I hope it is helpful . Also note: I have not set this in stone this view will probably change as I continue to walk upon the earth. I probably will revisit today or tomorrow to post my impressions of today’s Old Testament reading.

1 Samuel 12:1-13:23

Since I left a very long post this morning, I am going to focus on two passages that really got my attention.

1) 1 Samuel 12:19--Then all the people begged Samuel, "Pray to your GOD for us, your servants. Pray that we won't die! On top of all our other sins, we've piled on one more--asking for a king!"

a. O.K. God picked Israel out of all the nations to be His People, yet Israel declares to Samuel that God is “your GOD” instead of their very own God. Israel was unwilling to do the work to keep them in right relationship, but they wanted to maintain the rights of that relationship under someone else’s bond. They were name droppers and hanger-on’s.
b. We do the same thing when we run from piller-to-post asking everybody to pray for us when we are unwilling to stand in right relationship with God but call a “prayer meeting” to manipulate others to pray for our concerns because we know, deep in our hearts, that we are not in fellowship with God.

2) 1 Samuel 12:11-12—11 Saul answered, "When I saw I was losing my army from under me, and that you hadn't come when you said you would, and that the Philistines were poised at Micmash, 12I said, "The Philistines are about to come down on me in Gilgal, and I haven't yet come before GOD asking for his help.' So I took things into my own hands, and sacrificed the burnt offering."
a. Saul didn’t know his history. Had he bothered to read? Did he never hear of how Gideon and three hundred men defeated 100 plus thousand men? Like us, Saul relied on his strength and the strength of the army he did not have. Since his strength was week and he and his men were full of fear, his fear led to wrong choices and decisions. Saul had stink’n think’n.

When we are in fear we are lacking perfect love, which casts out all fear. (1 John 4:18). So I ask a rhetorical question, something to think about, what exactly is perfect love? Since fear gives birth to shame, and shame is used by us to manipulate folks, keep folks in line, keep ‘em down on the farm and in their place. Is shame a good or bad thing? Again, rhetorical. It was shame that drove Adam and Eve into hiding while covering themselves with a bunch of leaves. What sets off fear, which leads to shame?

A GREAT BIG HMMMM!!!

I feel really blessed to be reading

Yes God does call us to pray for others. I often pray for others and last Sunday at church I got a very firm call to pray for a lady I know who has diabetes and whose health is failing her.

I think if we are called to do anything by God and dont we are sinning. It feels bad anyway. I use to sometimes say "Oh i dont want to do this or that" to God. Id feel awful until I had obeyed.

No times havent changed much society is still saying the same things

I love to sing to God. At the youth music group which I have been taking Billy to the man organsing the band told us that we should focus on God when we sing in church. That has really stuck with me. Its not just about singing the words its focusing on them and directing them straight to God.

The reading in Samuel struck me about how important patience and obedience are.
It amazes me that Jesus's brothers did not believe him (at this point in the Gospel of John)

God bless you all!

Oh to be patient for the things of God! I can't count how many times in m life I have used God as a 911 God! I am in a desperate situsation, I know, call God 911, He can fix it, but then when it doesn't happen right then, I would get all frazzeled, anxious, angry and just in a hurry! I have learned since to know that God's thoughts are not my thoughts, His ways are not my ways and I must wait upon him to receive the blessings He has for my life according to His will, not my own. Things work out so much better when I wait for the answer and I learn to trust in Him more, increasing my faith. God is so merciful to me and can't fathom how He puts up with me daily, other than it is through His unconditional love and mercy.

Just like the Israelites needed reminding all the great things God has done, we need reminding today as well. We are a forgetful people. I honestly believe reading God's Word, the Bible, each day is a great way to "remember" all that God has done for each of us and our spiritual ancestors. ~ I need a reminder to, I'm not ashamed to say so. I need to be involved in church events. I need to go out witnessing, I need all the services in the week. I need to be reminded how God works. I need to remember how I need to go to Him in times of need and not to hide myself and try to figure it out all alone. Reading the Bible on a daily basis really helps me out perfectly. It takes half an hour up to 45 minutes a day, because I take notes and questions and stuff like that. And it's good, it's my time with the Lord and I love to do this every day!

A verse that stood out for me 1 Samuel 12:23 "As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right". ~ Yes, I believe we are sinning if we don't pray for others. It's something that God asks us to do, so if we don't obey we are sinning. To sin is not only when we do things that we know of are wrong for us, but we also sin when we don't do something that we really should do.

John 7:12 "There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.” ~ I'm not really sure what's going on with me lately, but things like this can get me on serious fire! I know I shouldn't and I know I should pray for those people who think so, and I'm really praying for them that some day they will open their hearts for Jesus. I find it very difficult to hear people talk like this. That's why it's a good thing that I talk to people on the streets about Jesus, it's a good way for me to learn to control my feelings. I'm always praying for the lost sheeps, that some day they will find true and wonderful freedom within Jesus Christ!

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