Reflections Week of 3.27.17

Read 1 Samuel 24 (3.28 Tuesday)

David worked so hard, making sacrifices of time, resources, and even lives to protect the people and city of Keilah. When the city was secured, the people rallied around and celebrated David, making him their king and feasting to celebrate his name.

JK

They just turned right around and tried to sell him out to Saul. You will recall that Saul was aggressively seeking to kill David.

So even after David stuck up for the people of Keilah, they still betrayed him. He couldn’t catch a break; no matter where he ran, Saul pursued him. No matter what he did to help others, they tried to hurt him.

Life gets like that sometimes, doesn’t it? No matter how hard you’re working to be holy, to live a righteous life, it jumps at the chance to hand you to the evil one. The lesson David learned here is the same one we need to learn: trust God, not people, for your deliverance.

I am sure David thought, “Sure, I’ll save this city because God told me to, and I bet they’ll give me a safe haven.” But who gave him refuge? Who hid him from danger? God. God alone.

I am not sure, but from what I can tell, David wrote Psalm 27 after all this happened. I encourage you to take a minute and read it with all this in mind.

Reflection written by Liz Doogan

Read 2 Samuel 1 (4.1 Saturday)

There is a lot of different things going on in this chapter. First, go back and read the end of 1 Samuel 31, make note of how Saul died. Now as you read the account of this messenger to David, it is clear his story is not the same as what actually happened. What would possess this guy to lie about Saul’s death? Was he looking for favor with the King? Whatever his motivation, it was a poor choice to be the one to bring this news to David. But how could he have known David would respond that way? I mean Saul was David’s enemy. They chased each other, Saul threw spears, they were by no means friends. But we must remember that David was a man after God’s own heart. Death was never supposed to be part of the plan. It’s not something that brings God joy. And it did not bring joy to David that this man Saul, who he cared for, who he served, was now dead. And to make things worse, David’s best friend, a man who was like a brother to him, Jonathan was dead as well. David’s response was to mourn and write a song to honor these fallen men. “How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle!” These are the words David uses to talk about Saul who tried to kill him multiple times. I have trouble staying calm and not saying mean things about the slow driver in front of me. Jesus said  in Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” This is God’s desire for us, this is the heart David had, this is the heart we are called to have.

Reflection written by Tim Gioia

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Reflections Week of 3.20

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the two year reading plan the church is participating in. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.

Read 1 Samuel 14:23-24 (3.22 Wednesday)

The matter of speech has been much on my mind since my son turned 6 months of so. Not only can his little brain start to pick up vocal, but tone as well! He is learning from he way I talk all day long. For this reason, my husband and I gave up negative speech for Lent; we discovered it’s quite an uphill battle. Here we sit, surrounded by God’s good blessings all day long, and in a second we can zero in on the two things that remain challenging. And then that’s the thing that comes out of our mouths. No one likes to say they relate to Saul (probably?)(Perhaps, “I’m so tall and good looking!”), but I admit, I do here. In verse 23 we have a definitive summation of a successful battle… later in the chapter, a historical account of Saul’s many victories. But in verse 24, for no reason that I can parse out, Saul makes a crazy oath: that no one in Israel should eat until vengeance is complete. So selfish, so short-sighted, so quickly spoken! The rest of the chapter we see that his oath directly affects his own son, one of the most recent heroes of Israel!

For Reflection: Do you ever speak too quickly?

Read 1 Samuel 17:45-47 (3.23 Thursday)

This has long been a favorite speech of the Giacalone family, lovers of storytelling and dram that we are. This Lent, it strikes me as a great way to talk when facing trials. The first thing I notice is that the challenge is not glossed over, David opens by acknowledging that he is facing real weapons: he lists three, as though Goliath is a Swiss Army knife standing before him with a dozen pointy ends and ways to die. But in the same breath, David declares that he’s no lamb sent out for his slaughter, he has the Lord on his side! And this is stronger than any enormous, weapon-clad cursing oaf. I am not often (or ever)(thankfully) in real battle, only metaphorical, so I don’t get to dwell on what animals will feast on the carcass of my enemies, but there’s something that seems holy about even this. David invites God’s good creation to respond to God’s victory. Because it isn’t about him. Which brings David to the point: the battle is the Lord’s. God does all our fighting. Saying that, aloud, frequently, in my one, is something that I want my son to hear.

For Reflection: Where do you get your confidence? How is it reflected in the way you talk?

Reflections written by Amy Giacalone

Reflections Week of 3/13/17

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the two year reading plan the church is participating in. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.

Read 1 Corinthians 15 (Monday 3.13)

I’ve always enjoyed playing the song “Christ is Risen” by Matt Maher on Sunday mornings. It stands as an anthem to Christ’s resurrection and a reminder that Christianity does not end at His death. One my favorite parts to play is the bridge, which proudly proclaims, “O, death, where is your sting?” While the crescendoing volume and double time notes are a blast to play, it strikes a deeper chord. One that allows you to come face to face with the reality that all of us will face one day.

Upon finding this line in 1 Corinthians 15, I found myself staring at a large portion of text that is incredibly difficult to make sense of. There is great talk of spiritual versus physical bodies, the connection to Adam, sin, and the ultimate law, Jesus’ role/responsibility of the ultimate resurrection we all face…it can be overwhelming.

However, verse 50 paints a concise picture: “I tell you this brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”  This is what it ultimately comes down to. Not how big and important we are. Not the accomplishments that we parade around ourselves. We are all, unquestionably, in need of a savior. And the best part? We will, one day, see our savior again, clothed in glory and righteousness.

Our God is not dead, he’s alive! he’s alive!

Read 1 Samuel 3 (3.15 Wednesday)

Fear. Such a versatile four letter. It often grips and shapes so much of our lives. Putting myself in Samuel’s shoes, I realize that more often than not, I find myself paralyzed by fear. And this can manifest in a variety of different ways. Sometimes, it’s something as simple as not talking to someone new due to a fear of certain reactions. At other moments, I am afraid to speak out on topics I am passionate about due to backlash or somehow exposing I am inferior.

Samuel, in the instance of chapter three, was afraid for a different reason. When the Lord called, Samuel was there, ready and willing to answer. His fear came not from the fact that the Lord would call, but from the solemn news that Eli’s house was in great danger. Talk about being the bearer of bad news

But here’s the thing. Eli himself did not lash out in anger. He didn’t blame Samuel, or react physically. Instead he tells him in verse 17, “…Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.”

No matter what side of fear we land on, Samuel and Eli both show courage in the face of huge opposition. It is up to us in this day and age to approach situations in our lives with confidence in that God is there with us, continually.

Reflections written by Jax Gorman