Browsing articles tagged with " David"
Jun
11

Our God Is Rich In Mercy

By admin  //  Devotionals  //  1 Comment

“The Lord is merciful and gracious; he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. read more

Feb
6

In The Hands of God (Part 1)

By admin  //  Devotionals  //  1 Comment

‘Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress; let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into human hands.”‘ 2 Samuel 24:14

I am very excited about what I am about to share with you this week and the next. I believe it is a word for some people. It certainly was for me. In some way it is like a continuation of what we began to say last week about God having the last say in our lives, or, being in the hands of God. What does it mean to be in the hands of God? What do we do in the hands of God? What does God do when we are in his hands?

In Daniel chapter 6 we read of the conspiracy of Daniel’s colleagues because of their jealousy at his progress. These men had tricked the king (who was fond of Daniel) into signing an irrevocable decree that was aimed at destroying Daniel. This bible says that when the king realised it was Daniel who was to be thrown to the lions ‘he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.’ (vs. 14 – NIV). But king Darius couldn’t help Daniel.

Now listen to me: A time comes when no man can help us. We find ourselves in a situation and there is no way out. Even men with the best intentions seem unable or unavailable to help us. Even the king with all his willingness and all his power couldn’t help Daniel. What was happening here? Because Daniel was committed to God, God was committed to him. So God had tied the king’s hands so that nobody else but God himself could help Daniel. This is what it means to be in the hands of God.

It doesn’t matter how we got into the situation we are in. It may be like in Daniel’s case through men’s wickedness, or through men’s mistakes. It may be through the negligence of men as in Joseph’s case: Remember how after helping the king’s butler interpret his dream, Joseph had asked him to help plead his case with the king so he could be released from prison. But the king’s butler forgot and Joseph was stuck in prison for another two years! I believe God allowed that man to forget about Joseph so that Joseph might come to a place where no man could help him. Joseph was in the hands of God.

Perhaps God has brought you to a point where men cannot or will not help you, and there is no help in sight. Then know this, you are in a good place – you are in the hands of God. And it is for a reason – so that he may do for you what no man can do for you, so that he may glorify himself in your life. I know that what I am saying is a specific word for some people right now. If you have committed your life to the Lord, what you are going through is not by the devil. You are in the hands of God, and he has allowed this in order to display his power in your life.

The bible says “A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.” (v. 17)  Daniel was brought to a place where his fate seemed sealed. That is exactly what some of us are facing – we find ourselves pushed into a corner, into a seemingly unchanging increasingly difficult situation. It is as if our fate is sealed. You have prayed and tried everything and nothing seems to budge. Listen: You are in the hands of God!

When the king saw he couldn’t help Daniel, ‘The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”’ (v. 16)  The king was in effect saying, ‘You are committed to God so now you are in God’s hands. Let God rescue you. Let him make a way. Man cannot help you. It is beyond us’. And that was when God took over. This word for some of us is, ‘Do you serve God continually?’ You have walked with the Lord with all your heart and now does it seem he has abandoned you? No, you are in the hands of God. What you are facing is not by accident. God has allowed it so that only he can help you.

Let us learn from Daniel. First we notice that he was silent throughout all these struggles. He didn’t strive with the men. Please, I plead with you, stop striving with men. You are in the hands of God, not in the hands of men. Yes your trouble might have come through men, but God allowed it. You are in God’s hand. I don’t see Daniel trying to win the king’s favour or beg him. He was trusting in God and not in man. Cease from every bit of looking to men. The most men can do for you now is to pray for you like the king did for Daniel. If there is one help you can ask of men it is to pray for you, but keep your eyes on God and your ears open to his leading.

Daniel said no word as they took him and threw him into the den. Sometimes there is no need to talk when the pressure is on. Be still. Say to yourself ‘Keep silent! God is at work. I am in the hands of God,’ Hallelujah!

I will continue from here next week. If you sense God speaking to you please pray this prayer with me:

‘Lord, I accept this as a word for me. I thank you because I am not at the mercy of my circumstances. I am in your hands, and you are good and have a plan. I thank you because you want to display your glory and power in my situation. I thank you because your help is coming. Lord, help me to be like Daniel – to stay committed to you, and not to strive with men or to look to men. I choose now to forgive all men and to cease from striving. I will look to you and you will lead me into your plans for me. Thank you, because I will see your mighty intervention in Jesus’ Name, Amen!’

Feb
1

Power Belongs to God

By admin  //  Devotionals  //  1 Comment

“God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work.” (Ps.62: 11,12 KJV)

My wife reminded me a while ago of the story of David fleeing from his son Absalom, and how at that distressing moment of his life a man called Shimei from the clan of Saul came out and began raining curses on him. She pointed out David’s reaction to Shimei’s provocation when David’s men spoke of killing Shimei. David said, “If he is cursing because the LORD said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’… Leave him alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today.” (2 Samuel 16:10 -12 – NIV)

David was  in effect saying that Shimei could not be cursing him if God had not allowed it. So he was not going to strive with Shimei or any other man, because he was not in their hands. David was confident that nothing could happen to him that God did not allow, and that if God had allowed it then he was not at the mercy of any situation or man, he was in the hands of God. Think about that.

In John 19:10 Pilate said to our Lord Jesus; “Don’t you realise I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” (NIV). And this is what our challenges seem to be saying to us, “Don’t you realise I have power to crucify you? I am in control and I have power to do whatever I like to you.” I don’t know what your challenge is as you read this, but often it seems like the forces at work around us and in us (and at times because of our mistakes) have the power to crucify us. But Jesus was not afraid because he knew who has the ultimate power. His reply to Pilate was similar to David’s, “You would have no power over me except that it is given to you from above”.

I want to encourage you that it doesn’t matter what the challenge is that you face – it has no power over you. Your life is in God’s hands and he is in control no matter what happens. He has the last say over our lives. And like the verse above says (Psalm 62:12), not only does all power belong to him, unto him also belongs mercy. Or, like the Good News Translation of that verse:

“More than once I have heard God say that power belongs to him and that his love is constant. You yourself, O Lord, reward everyone according to their deeds” (Ps. 62:11,12 GNB)

He will not fail. He will deliver. For with God it is always “Yea and amen” to all he has promised us. It doesn’t matter how strong other powers might be, God is stronger, and God is merciful!

Sep
7

Risky Love

By admin  //  Devotionals  //  2 Comments

“Men who have hazarded their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ”  Acts 15:26 (KJV)

As we read of the lives of God’s people in the Bible and in Church history, there are some who stand out – whose actions must appear either extremely heroic or else downright crazy. These were men and women who despised the very visible risks and dangers before them in their bid to be true to God and to his call on their lives. They all seem to have said, like Esther, “If I perish, I perish!”

In the 1950s there were five very promising young men in the USA who had all the opportunities and resources to stay home and make “something” of their lives. But instead they decided to follow God’s call upon their lives to go out to reach a small headhunting  tribe – the Auca Indians of South America – who had never heard of Christ. They all knew the risks involved – that there was a strong possibility that they could be killed; yet they went, and they were all killed even before they had the opportunity to preach to them. But through their death many of the Aucas today know Jesus Christ.

Like his Master, Mark’s life was short – 35 years and the carnal man like Judas would ask, “To what purpose is this waste?” (Matt 26:8 – KJV) . But the explanation Jesus the Lord gave, was, “for she loved much.” (Luke 7:47 – NIV) Now, we must understand that it is well pleasing to God when men “love not their lives unto death” for his sake. It is to our shame that we know very little of this kind of love in this age of the “bless me, bless me” gospel. But God seeks lovers – those who love much. Not in word alone, but in deed.

Let’s look now at four attributes of men with this kind of love, as portrayed in the lives of three of David’s mighty men in 2 Samuel 23 verses 13 to 17.

We are told first of all that these men “came to David”(v.13). They sought first fellowship and intimacy with the king. Men with this kind of love for the Lord are not primarily ambitious adventurers seeking to accomplish great feats. No, their first and all-consuming desire is, “that I may know him”. So they draw near. Any risk-taking or venture that does not spring from  intimacy with God  cannot please God.

Secondly, it was when they came close enough to David that those men were able to hear his longing – his heart-cry (v.15). Many of us today are unable to hear God’s heart-cry because we are too far from him. Too many unnecessary things have drawn our hearts away – “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things”. So many do not know God’s program for their lives, nor for their generation. Others have abandoned their initial calling and vision.

Thirdly, it comes as a sharp contrast to most of us today the way these men responded immediately to the king’s longing (v.16). (Note: David never requested his men to go on that dangerous mission.) Remember in Isaiah 6:8, Isaiah heard God telling of a need, to which he personally responded.  These men were not “specifically” called to do something. They could have felt ’not fully persuaded‘ that it was they who should do the work. Or they could have spent time deliberating on whether or not the task at hand was within ’their calling‘, as we often do today.

But love is much simpler. All that matters to a lover is the desire of the one he loves. The immediate reply of the lover is “Here I am, send me”. The lover starts to move in the direction of the Lord’s longing and trusts that the Lord would redirect him if the work were not for him.

Today we do the opposite. When we hear God’s longing or call we stay put or continue to move in the opposite direction hoping that God will not disturb us (most of the times he doesn’t seem to!). A brother who was well acquainted with the needs of the mission fields, told me it was more advisable (he must have meant safer) for one to go on pursuing his plans and leave God to direct if he wants one in the mission field. I told him that I felt it would be more pleasing to God if those who hear of the unreached would begin to head out to meet these needs, trusting God to redirect them if he has some other plan for them. Can’t God do that?

It’s the hardness of our hearts that makes us so cautious in responding to God’s heart’s desires. We are afraid of the consequences of God’s call on our lives. Yet “there is no fear in love”.

Lastly we see that they counted their Master’s desire more important than their safety, comfort, ambitions, or even their  own lives(v.16). They despised the risks and accomplished the task. Today we are taught that the more faith we have, the more our comfort will increase. We have learnt to love our lives. Yet these men “went in jeopardy of their lives” (v.17).

The heart-cry of God today is that all “the earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab 2:14 – NIV). There are still many ethnic groups or peoples unreached with the gospel today in Africa and all around the world. Researchers tell us that there are over 6,900 such remaining unreached ethnic groups. And God calls “whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” He calls us to leave our comfort zone and go out to quench his thirst. If we love him we will earnestly seek to find out from him (even with fasting and praying), how we can be involved in praying, going and giving of our resources.

Jim Elliot, one of the five men who was killed, said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”. Jesus said “He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” John 12:25 (KJV)

Do you love him as much as that?

Sep
7

Ingredients of Effective Prayer (Part 1)

By admin  //  Devotionals  //  No Comments

‘O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O LORD, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit.’ – Psalm 30:2-3 (NIV)

Just because everything around us says, ‘It’s over’ doesn’t mean we have to throw in the towel. In Psalm 30 everything around David was saying that his situation was hopeless. He tells us that he was down ‘in the depths’ and that his situation was like being ‘in the grave’. It must have looked the reasonable thing to do, to give up, but he did not throw up his hands in defeat. Instead he prayed and petitioned God until his situation changed. God wants to teach us to turn our situations around through prayer.

David said, ‘You (God) turned my wailing into dancing’ (v.11). Yet there would be no contradiction if we rephrased that to say: ‘David turned his wailing into dancing through prayer’, for God works through prayer. Someone has said, ‘When man works, man works. But when man prays, God works’. Prayer is not some spiritual abstract thing we do to console ourselves and hide from reality. Prayer is reality! Prayer is the means through which God works.

We catch a glimpse of what made David’s prayer effective in vs. 8-10. First, he was desperate. He says, ‘I cried for mercy’. Not ‘I asked for mercy’ but ‘I cried’. Prayer comes alive when it becomes desperate. How much do you really want what you are asking for? It is not how loud you shout or whether you shed some tears, but rather how much of your heart is in your prayer? How much do you truly long to see what you are asking for? A friend once said, ‘God will hear our heart without our lips, but he will not hear our lips without our heart’. And I am not speaking of feelings or emotions here.

Secondly, David was bold as he reasoned with God. Prayer should have something of the boldness that comes from believing that God will do what he has promised. God loves it when we pray boldly asking him to do what he has promised to do and expecting him to do it. We should be bold enough to be specific in our request. Some people pray in such vague ways that they never know if they are answered or not. Not only should we be specific, we should also be expectant. It doesn’t honour our Father when we pray with uncertainty that he will hear us.

Lastly, David did not cease praying until God responded. There is power in praying and not giving up until the answer comes. David’s answer did not come immediately. Maybe things seemed to be getting worse even as he kept praying. Yet he did not faint. Don’t stop praying because things are getting worse. Keep on praying. Our Lord taught that we ‘should always pray and not give up’ (Luke 18:1b – NIV). God wants us to make persevering prayer a part of our life. ‘Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning’ if we do not give up.

So David teaches us the ingredients of effective prayer. He was desperate – his whole heart was in his prayer. He was bold – he expected God to do what he had promised. And he persevered – he did not give up!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Comments? Questions? etc. If these messages have been helpful or unclear it would encourage us to hear from you, please write to chim_ibidun@hotmail.com
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PLEASE are you born again? It is not enough to believe in the existence of God, to go to church, or be interested in spiritual things. Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus died to deliver you from sin so that you can come to God. (John 3:16) If you ask him to forgive you and give you a new heart he will. (Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9-11).Try it. I’d love to hear from you @ chim_ibidun@hotmail.com
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Chim’sWRITE are regular articles on Christian living and cross-cultural missions from Chimezie Onyebilanma a cross-cultural missionary with Calvary Ministries (CAPRO). CAPRO is an indigenous African non-denominational cross-cultural  mission agency involved in reaching the remaining unreached peoples in 22 countries of Africa and the Middle East as of present. CAPRO is involved in missions mobilization, training, and research as well as church-planting and mercy ministries (literacy, rural development, primary health-care, relief and rehabilitation). CAPRO is a faith mission, both the ministry and its missionaries depend on God’s provision through the giving of his people. None of its missionaries are salaried. All gifts are used as designated.

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