“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
A driver cannot afford to get distracted by a text message. A moment of distraction can cause costly damage or even cost them their life or the life of another person. Drivers need to do all they can to deal with and avoid distractions to perform well behind the wheel. For a Christian, it is even more important not to lose focus. A moment of distraction can cause a lifetime of pain and regret. Life is more important than a text message. There are many other distractions in this world: television, music, people, not to mention our own desires. What distractions are keeping you from your focus on God?
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.
Have you ever done something over and over, to the point where it is boring? Your heart is just no longer “in it.” It takes enthusiasm on our part to take it to the highest level. It’s easy to see the difference. The Bible tells us that if we deem anything worthy of doing, we should do it with enthusiasm. God gave us the ability to care about what we are doing. As Christians our actions testify of His greatness, so we should always seek to give our best. Are you giving your all to what you are doing today?
_________________________________ READING PLAN:
He chooses our inheritance for us, The glory of Jacob whom He loves. Selah.
People invest hours working to obtain a paycheck that they don’t even appreciate. I have never seen anyone refuse to deposit their paycheck in the bank. People are often excited about payday because their family can go out to eat or maybe buy something they have waited to get. At that moment, the hard work is not important; having gotten paid is. As Christians, we will one day receive a custom-made paycheck just for us. It’s called a reward because it is more than we deserve. The God of the universe who loves us more than we can imagine is preparing a reward for us individually. This should motivate us. Are you excited about your reward?
A SONG WORTH SINGING
For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with a skillful psalm.
Do you like listening to songs or singing along with the radio? Some songs remind us of our loyalty to our country. Others remind us of a person dear to us. Many others are frivolous and only serve to entertain us. Have you ever considered how it makes God feel when we sing songs of love and devotion to Him? When it comes time to declare our love and devotion to God, I want to sing something that reflects how I feel personally, not something frivolous. How do you feel when you sing to Him?
God is in her palaces; He is known as her refuge.NKJV
Life is fun when things are going well. We all know that we should plan and prepare for when things don’t go well. Wise people work very hard to prepare for this. They know that even though things aren’t going well, it doesn’t mean life is over. By refocusing on their objectives, they can still achieve their goals. This concept is even more important spiritually.
Just because circumstances are not good does not mean that your life is a failure. In those times, we should get closer to God and refocus on His priorities. Our lives can turn around. Are you turning to God in your tough times?
Judges 21:1-Ruth 1:22
BE AN ENCOURAGER
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29
One of the growing industries today is motivational speaking. The purpose is to help keep the audience motivated to pursue their goals, whatever they are. These speakers choose their words carefully. In our daily lives, we should also choose our words carefully. God’s word is full of encouragement and can give us purpose for our daily lives. The living Word of God should motivate us, and our words should encourage others in their lives as well. Discouragement lurks for us. What are some examples of encouraging words we can speak to each other?___________________________
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have known sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
Have you ever had a big test at school? Teachers try to prepare you for every question you will encounter to do well on that test. Occasionally, a question arises that you are not sure what to do, and it usually does not go well. You didn’t know what to do, or maybe you didn’t study and prepare like you needed to. In our lives, God has provided His Word so that we can know what to do in every situation. We also have the Holy Spirit to guide us. We have no excuse for doing the wrong thing. What are some excuses we might hear from others who are dabbling in sin?
1 Samuel 1:1-2:21
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
As a child, do you remember being afraid? That fear would vanish when we were with our parents. Maybe after school, walking home alone, a gang of kids yelled at you. The size of the crowd intimidated you. You knew if they came after you, there was no hope. But if your big brother or a parent were with you, it made all the difference. When Satan sees who is walking with us, he is intimidated. What he has learned is sometimes we forget who is with us, and we approach life discouraged. In those moments, he steals victories that should have been ours. What are some things that might cause a Christian to experience fear?
1 Samuel 2:22-4:22
Why should I fear in days of adversity, When the iniquity of my foes surrounds me
Have you ever been running late for an important appointment? Then panic sets in, more mistakes are made, and more time is lost. When fear sets in, we want to give up. When this emotion is controlled, it allows you an opportunity to get control of the situation. Fear is a terrible emotion. It can cause us to believe that we have failed when the initial circumstances aren’t favorable. Perspective tells us that initial circumstances don’t always dictate the results, and we should continue. Fear wants us to quit. As Christians, we are never alone, no matter how dark the circumstances. What can we trust God to do for us when our situations appear out of control?
1 Samuel 5:1-7:17
But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Luke 6:46
Every large business or company has managers. They are usually one of the older or more experienced employees. Their job is to be the owner’s representative. Imagine what would happen if the manager did not listen to the owner and made decisions opposite the owner. That person would not be a manager very long because he didn’t listen to the owner. God, in these verses, is asking why people pretend to be Christians when they don’t pay any attention to what He is asking them to do. God has no patience for this type of living. What are some examples of things we do that do not demonstrate that He is our Lord?
1 Samuel 8:1-9:27
No man can by any means redeem his brother or give God a ransom for him.
As a person, it is important to know your limitations. Someone may be faster or smarter or taller than you. To be the best you can be, you must do what you do well. The surest way to failure is to try to do the things that are beyond your abilities. In the spiritual realm, this is even more important. To try to do for others what only God can do is a sure recipe for failure. Our value in our service to God lies in using our God-given gifts to serve others. Knowing our limits and our gifts are the key. What is something you are doing right now that only God can do?
1 Samuel 10:1-11:15
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. Hebrews 10:26
Something that most people don’t like to think about is what kind of life they will have if they retire. Their career might one day come to an end. If retirement is something that one wishes to strive toward, then preparation for it is a must. There is rarely a second chance to prepare for life after retirement. A wise person prepares for it early in their career. Eternal life is a close parallel in that one must also prepare for it.We are all eternal creatures right now and will spend eternity either in heaven or hell. Those that are in hell, would like a second opportunity to change their decision but it will not be available. If you died today do you know for certain that you would open your eyes in heaven?
1 Samuel 12:1-13:23
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16
In the medical field, some doctors have interns who are training to be future doctors. One of these intern’s requirements is to follow all of the doctor’s instructions. The intern better not talk badly about the doctor or not follow his instructions. If an intern fails at one or both of these, the doctor will no longer try to mentor him. Why would we think any less of God working in our lives? If we truly want help, we will follow the instructions we are given. God’s instructions are found in His Word. Can you list some of God’s instructions that have been valuable in your life?_______________________________
1 Samuel 14:1-52
RELY ON HIM
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
We all have somebody we rely on when the going gets tough. They are our stars and heroes. It is a comfort to know that they are constantly on your side and can count on them. God fills the same role in our lives. He is constantly there for us. He looks out for us and protects us. When the going gets tough, we don’t have to wonder who to turn to or where to look for help. He is already there for you. Can you recall instances when you know He stepped in during those tough times in your life?
1 Samuel 15:1-16:23
…that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; Colossians 1:10
If we think we can live as we please and ignore God’s instructions and not have consequences, we are engaged in foolish thinking. Once we start down this road, we can’t go back and undo the damage we have caused to ourselves and others. With God’s help, we can make changes and begin to live a better life and avoid creating more problems for ourselves and others. If you were to assess your life right now, can you think of some areas where you know you are not following God’s instructions? If so, today is the day to correct them.
1 Samuel 17:1-18:4
For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” Hebrews 10:30
There are moments in our lives when we feel someone has intentionally wronged a friend or us and had gotten away with it. We are tempted to try to avenge ourselves or our friend. What usually happens is that it backfires. Then we are left with the frustration of our injustice and with our attempt at vengeance that failed. There is a better way. When we have been wronged, we should appeal to a higher power. An attempt to get revenge ourselves puts us in the role of playing God. We should leave vengeance in His hands and focus on living our lives. In our past, what has been the result when we have attempted revenge on our own?__________________________________
1 Samuel 18:5-19:24
Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
It seems all around us, we become aware of people that have experienced a personal tragedy like divorce, death, health issues, or relationships. Sometimes, they never seem to recover, and their careers and lives go downhill. They can be affected mentally, physically, and spiritually as the tragedy impacts their whole life. No one is exempt from tragedy. But God promises that if we will cast our burdens on Him and live according to His principles, He will help us get through the tough times. Now is the time to put your trust in Him before tragedy strikes. Can you think of something you can do right now to get ready in case of tragedy?__________________________________
1 Samuel 20:1-21:15
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
Life has some dangerous moments. Daily, there is the potential for a dangerous situation, such as bad weather. In these cases, people are briefed ahead of time and told where to go for protection. They depend on the meteorologist to let them know when to seek cover. When the signal is given, they can run quickly to their protected area. As Christians, we have a place to turn to when the situation gets dangerous. We can turn to God. He is near, and He is watching out for us constantly. Do you find it easy or hard to believe God is right beside you, prepared to act on your behalf when needed? ________________________________
__________________________________ READING PLAN:
1 Samuel 22:1-23:29
ARE YOU LISTENING?
My son, if you receive my words,
and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding;
yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures;
then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5
During class, has the teacher ever asked you, “Are you listening to me?” That can be an embarrassing moment. Their primary concern is not with your embarrassment. Teachers want to ensure you are listening to what is being taught and are able to apply that teaching to your life. By not listening, we are showing a lack of respect for them. So the question really is, do you have enough respect for the teacher to do what he asks you to do? God asks the very same question. He expects you to have enough love for Him to obey Him. Can you think of things that God is trying to teach you, but you can honestly say that you are not listening?__________________________________
1 Samuel 24:1-25:44
SATAN IS LIMITED
And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. Job 1:12
As a leader, panic is not an option. A panicked leader cannot lead effectively. An understanding of the situations helps us to handle them well. Sometimes we need to ask ourselves, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” Knowing this guides our reaction. As Christians, we should know that God is there for us and that the worse thing the devil can do is cause us to lose our physical life. No one can take our salvation away from us. We should never panic or act in fear because “What is the worst thing he can do?”
1 Samuel 26:1-28:25
KNOW WHO TO CALL
I will cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me. Psalm 57:2
Knowing who to call on when you are in a challenging situation can bring you peace. You wouldn’t want your enemy to guide your decision. You would want someone who loved you to do it. Knowing their abilities and care for you guides your decisions. You know who to ask, depending on what you need. As Christians, we have a much easier task. We don’t have to decide from a multitude of options. There is only one God, and He is the best at everything. So no matter what your problem, who are you going to call?
1 Samuel 29:1-31:13
…rejoicing in hope, patient[c] in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; Romans 12:12
Some people are willing to give in to temptations to take shortcuts to achieve success. People try to break the rules in such a way as not to get caught. While there may be some short-term benefits, eventually, your actions will catch up with you, and your reputation will be ruined. What you thought would get you ahead has only served to bring you down. As Christians, there are temptations to take shortcuts to get what we want instead of trusting in God to provide for us. We begin to look just like lost people. True rewards are found in doing the right thing. Can you think of a time when He rewarded you for not taking the shortcut and waiting on Him?__________________________________
2 Samuel 1:1-2:11
GOD OF MIRACLES
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me? Jeremiah 32:27
Has a difficult situation ever caused you to want just to quit? You have to reach down and recommit yourself to make the most of the situation. How you respond to the adverse situation can determine if this life is “won or lost.” We should never lose heart or give up in difficult circumstances. As Christians, we should value determination as well. We have a great God on our side, and no situation is over until He says it’s over. He can and does do miracles at times in this world. Knowing this, we should never give up. List at least one miracle He has performed in your life.
2 Samuel 2:12-3:39
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10
There are moments in life when you know that you need help. You look around and see who can help you. When you see that particular person begin to move towards you, your spirits lift, and you feel excited because help is on the way. For Christians, we don’t have to worry about who will come and help us because we know that we can count on God. Because He is God, He can do things that people can’t. It is excellent to know that we can depend on God. Other than salvation, what is something that God has done for you that only He could do?__________________________________
2 Samuel 4:1-6:23
GOD IS EVERYWHERE
If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:8-10
Have you ever moved away from a neighborhood of good friends? They were there for you when you needed help. Now you are starting over, all alone. It can seem so challenging. In life, if we try to face problems alone, it is easy to get discouraged and feel like we are losing the battle. The good news is that we can never move to where the presence of God is not there. When God shows His power in our lives, our confidence soars because we know victory is at hand. Can you recall a time when you were physically alone, but you realized God was right there with you?__________________________________
2 Samuel 7:1-8:18
DON’T TRUST IN RICHES
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17
There are times that people perform far above their skill level. Like when a man lifts a car off an injured child. We rejoice at their outstanding performance at a critical time. But it would be wrong to expect that kind of performance from them all of the time. This expectation would lead to frustration and disappointment. In life, people often look to unreliable things to put their trust in. One of those is money. Some believe that if they just had more money, then all of their problems would be solved. This hope would again lead to frustration and disappointment. The one person who will never abandon you is God. If you had more money, what would you do with it?
2 Samuel 9:1-11:27
So I will sing praise to Your name forever, That I may pay my vows day by day.
Few people today would deny the value of daily exercise. They are aware that even a few days without training will make a difference in how they feel and their health. Even on days when we don’t feel like it, we need to work out because we want to benefit. To have our best health, we should exercise daily. What is right in the physical is also true in the spiritual. It only takes a day or two of missed time with the Lord before we are susceptible to temptation, and our witness shows the effects. Are you daily working to keep yourself spiritually sharp?
2 Samuel 12:1-31
And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord, For You recompense a man according to his work.
Many people are motivated by rewards. Whether it be the Salesman of the Quarter or Nurse of the Year, these awards keep some people working longer and harder than they would if they did not exist. Unfortunately, there are times in life when it seems like the wrong person was rewarded. These things cause arguments, but there is nothing that can be done about it. We all say that we want fair judging of our work. Ultimately, God is the only fair judge. Knowing that He will judge our work should make us nervous and make us happy. He will judge correctly. What would God say about your life?
2 Samuel 13:1-39
O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
When someone is focused on improving his performance, he will be found working while others are still in bed. You won’t have to ask them to come in early; they will willingly be there early and often stay late. When something is important, getting up early no longer seems like a burden; it becomes a joy. As believers in Christ, if we want to grow spiritually, we must take the same approach. One way that we can get more time in our day is to get up earlier. Is your time with God important enough for you to get up early?
2 Samuel 14:1-15:22
FOLLOW THE LEADER
My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.
There are certain people that when we are around them, we want to be like them. We will watch them and listen to them talk. If we can, we will spend time with them. Anything to become more like them. This motivation can sometimes help a struggling person to become better. For a believer in Christ, our Leader should be Jesus. We should read about Him, talk to Him in prayer, and even try to live our lives like Him. There should be no sacrifice too great for us to make in our pursuit of being like Jesus. We become like who we are following. Are you following Jesus?
2 Samuel 15:23-16:23
May 31 MEDITATION
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.
The night before a big day, many people don’t fall asleep right away; instead, they are mentally thinking of the next day and the things they have to do. This mental walkthrough of the day and performance is called meditation. Some people believe they perform better because of meditating on their performance. A Christian should also meditate at night. Their thoughts should be focused on the goodness of God. Another thing to meditate on is thinking about obeying the Lord in tough situations. This can help us to live better lives. Do you spend your nights worrying or thinking about your great God?
2 Samuel 17:1-29