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July 30

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

My title for this devotion is Defeat or Victory.

After a thrilling chapter in Psalms-chapter 139-which in my book may be one of the most exciting chapters in the whole book, he ends with some very familiar words: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” [Verses 29-30]

What powerful verses those are! They stand even stronger when considered in the context of the whole chapter and also what is coming. Previously the psalmist has talked about God knowing us frontwards, backwards, up one side and down the other (a little poetic license there). Then he writes about how God knew us before we were born and how important His thoughts are of us. We have no other response other than to say, “Search me, O God.”

But as I read chapter 140 the other night, my eyes went to a logical presentation. I’m not sure why my eyes see things that way. 🙂 There are some words which stuck out to me. 

  • “Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men.” [verse 1]
  • “Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked.” [verse 4]
  • “Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked.” [verse 8]

I’d say the psalmist took seriously the threat of those who were his enemies. He wasn’t asking for acceptance of his plan to walk alongside them. He wasn’t making any plans to give into them. No…he was asking for God’s strength and protection as he fought. He was praying for God to provide a “way through” the fire. “Deliver me. Guard me. Grant not.” I think inherent in these words is a resignation to God of his weakness and need for supernatural intervention.

If I can say it this way: maybe the psalmist is praying that God will snatch defeat out of the lion’s jaws and bring about victory for him.

“Father, thank you for your steadfast concern and stand with me. Whenever I feel overwhelmed and to the point of defeat, bring me into your rest and into your arms of safety and allow you to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat. FOR IN YOU, I AM VICTORIOUS!”

We make our way home today with a moving truck and Jo driving mine. If you think about it, prayers for safety would be appreciated.

June 20

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

My title for this devotion is Complete vs Partial.

There is a saying that became popular a few years ago. It popped up in a song. It still comes up occasionally today:

All gave some; some gave all.

That was used of the military personnel who served our country. It was even used of their families. Every soldier and every family gave part of themselves to the effort. Some soldiers and some families gave all-their lives. The soldier gave his life; the family gave their husband or wife, son or daughter.

The calling of Elisha was an interesting read. Small but powerful and effective. It is found in I Kings 19:19-21. Elijah must find a successor- one he can pass the mantle to. His choice is Elisha. In just a few verses we find out what kind of man Elisha was:

  • Elisha walked by and put his mantle on Elisha.
  • Elisha was plowing his father’s field.
  • Elisha asked to go back and kiss his father and mother.
  • Elisha killed the oxen then gave the food to the people.
  • Elisha followed Elijah.

There’s a story about an ancient leader who landed then burned the ships behind his crew. There would be no retreat. Elisha sacrificed the oxen, essentially saying, “I’m not coming back.”

I started thinking about those who follow Jesus. All give some; some give all. Some like the idea of being a Christ-follower but hesitate surrendering all. Others go all in. They kill their oxen. They burn their boats. They surrender all. Like Elisha, they are “all in.”

What about me? What about you? Am I willing to go all in? Are you?

“Father, you want to be more than Father. You also want to be Lord. You want to rule my heart. You want to see me relinquish all to You. You don’t want me to be part of the crowd that says, ‘I gave some.’ You want me to part of the ‘same gave all’ crowd.  How about we do that today and take that step?”