|May 2011 Daily Devotion Archive|
Don't Worry...Just Trust in the Lord, Part 1 of 4
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
- Psalm 37:1-6
How to Respond to Temptation
Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And it came to pass after these things that his master's wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, "Lie with me." But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" - Genesis 39:6b-9
Joseph was clearly a man of God, and he did exactly what he should have done to respond to her temptation. Not only did he refuse to accept her offer, he also went on to explain why. He told her how much his master (her husband) trusted him, and he didn't want to do anything to violate that trust. He went on to say that it would be a sin against God if he gave in to her request. He placed great value on being trustworthy and on doing what is right in God's eyes. This is the right way to respond to temptation, and this is what we desperately need to see more of in our world today!
Question to Ponder: How would you respond to this kind of temptation from a man or woman with whom you associate?
David's Big Sin, Part 3
Then David sent to Joab, saying, "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah had come to him, David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people were doing, and how the war prospered. And David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and wash your feet." So Uriah departed from the king's house, and a gift of food from the king followed him. But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. - 2 Samuel 11:6-9
David has already made his big mistake in committing adultery with Bathsheba and making her pregnant. Now, he is trying to cover it up by bringing her husband Uriah home from war. David's plan was to get the two of them together so that everyone would believe that she became pregnant by her husband instead of by David. Unfortunately for David, the plan didn't work out that way. Uriah was so loyal to his fellow soldiers that he refused to go home and relax when they were still off at war. By trying to cover his tracks, David made a bad situation even worse. Countless other people do the exact same thing.
Question to Ponder: When you do something you shouldn't do, do you admit it and tell the truth or do you try to cover it up?
"But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain." - Daniel 11:38-39
As Daniel's prophecy continues, he writes about this king who will honor himself along with the false gods that he creates. As Christians, we should all be disgusted at the idea of creating and worshipping false gods in such a way. But take a moment to stop and ask yourself this question: Have you ever created any false gods yourself? Have you ever made something more important than God in your life? Money, possessions, fame, power, a spouse, or a child are just some of the things that could fall into this category. Think about what is most important to you and be honest with yourself. Is your relationship with Jesus at the top of that list? If not, what things rank higher, and what can you do to change that?
Question to Ponder: Have you ever created and/or worshipped any false gods, putting anything ahead of the one true God?
Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying... - Matthew 5:1-2
As we progress chronologically through Jesus' life, the next event recorded in the Bible is His "Sermon on the Mount." This well-known sermon covers a variety of topics including anger, lust, divorce, worldly glory, eternal treasure, choice of master, worry, judgment, and even the Lord's Prayer. I am going to skip over this passage of Scripture in my devotionals because I did a detailed, 45-part series on this sermon a couple of years ago. If you are interested in reading it (and I would suggest that you read all or at least portions of that series if you missed it the first time around), you can download it using this link: http://www.martinsvilleweather.com/lfc/word/2009_sm.doc
Question to Ponder: If you struggle with one or more of the topics listed above, what can you learn from Jesus' teachings?
Starting with the Positive
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. - Philippians 1:3-8
Paul has a lot of advice that he wants to give along to the people of Philippi, but he begins his letter to them on a positive note. He lets them know that he is very thankful for the things they had done for him. Clearly he loved these people--enough to advise them in some other areas later on in this letter. But by starting off with positive and encouraging comments, the people were probably more willing to listen to his advice later on. We can follow that same example when dealing with other people.
Question to Ponder: Do you try to offer uplifting words to others, or are you quick to criticize right from the start?
The Wise and the Foolish
A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it,
But knowledge is easy to him who understands.
Go from the presence of a foolish man,
When you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge.
The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way,
But the folly of fools is deceit.
Fools mock at sin,
But among the upright there is favor.
- Proverbs 14:6-9
Don't Worry...Just Trust in the Lord, Part 2 of 4
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret-it only causes harm.
For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.
For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.
But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
- Psalm 37:7-11
Don't Give In
Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And it came to pass after these things that his master's wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, "Lie with me." ... So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her. - Genesis 39:6b-7, 10
Last week we saw how Joseph initially responded to her plea--by refusing to accept her offer because he did not want to sin against God. But she clearly wasn't the type of woman who gave up easily. She kept trying to persuade Joseph day after day, but he never gave in, insisting on doing what he knew was right. Here's the lesson for us: Just because you are tempted doesn't mean you have to give in, even if that temptation is persistent. Our society bombards us with messages that imply that we should give in to our temptations and desires and we should do anything that makes us feel good in the moment. But as Christians, we should know better. We never have to give in; we only give in when we choose to. Refuse to give in to temptation, and if you can't do it on your own (which we often can't), ask Jesus for His help and He will give you the strength that you need.
Question to Ponder: Would you be able to stick to doing what's right, or would you eventually give in to the temptation?
David's Big Sin, Part 4
In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die." So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men. Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also. - 2 Samuel 11:14-17
David's downward spiral continues. Recall from last week that David brought Uriah home from battle in the hopes that he would lie with his wife Bathsheba, and everyone would believe that the baby she was carrying was his instead of David's. When things didn't work out that way, David resorted to this plan. It may have been out of anger or out of a desire for revenge, or perhaps he just wanted Uriah out of the way altogether. In any case, what started out as one night of adultery (which is bad enough already) has now resulted in the intentional death of an innocent man. Apparently it never occurred to David to just admit his sin.
Question to Ponder: Have you been in a situation where one bad choice lead to more bad choices? Did you ever tell the truth?
More of Daniel's Prophecy
"At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him." - Daniel 11:40-45
There are no additional devotional thoughts today. I am not sure whether this passage refers to a time in the past, present, or future, but I found it to be quite intriguing given the political unrest in Egypt and Libya.
The Master with a Servant's Heart
Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it." - Luke 7:6-8
This centurion (a soldier) had a servant who was very sick, so he had sent another servant to ask Jesus to come and heal this man. But the most significant thing to me about this passage of Scripture is this man's humble attitude. Look closely at how he responds to Jesus. He says that he isn't worthy enough for Jesus to even come into his home. And this isn't a lowly member of society; it's someone who is head over servants himself, but he still has a servant's heart. This is how Jesus wants us all to live--serving one another with a gentle, humble spirit.
Question to Ponder: Do you have a servant's heart in the way you treat other people?
Sharing the Love of Christ
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. - Philippians 1:9-11
Paul concludes the introduction of his letter with this prayer for the people of Philippi, gently providing some advice and wisdom at the same time. He advises them to love one another more fully, following Jesus' example of true, perfect love. That's advice we all can use. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, we can show the love of Christ to those around us, and we desperately need to if we want them to understand why Christians are different from everyone else! He also advises them to be sincere, without offense, and to approve of those things which are good. All of that is very good advice for us to follow as well.
Question to Ponder: How can you better show the love of Christ to those around you?
Fools mock at sin,
But among the upright there is favor.
- Proverbs 14:9
So many sinful actions are now being looked upon as being "cool" or acceptable in the eyes of our society today. Sexual sins are especially prevalent (perhaps because we see them all over the place on TV), but there are a number of other sins that fall into this category as well. Many people who agree with that line of thinking are eager to mock or ridicule those of us who firmly believe that there is something wrong with those actions. But, we can't let that discourage us from standing up for what we know is right. As Christians, we have a responsibility to stand up for the truth. Sin is sin; it breaks God's heart and any kind of regular, ongoing sin should have no place in our lives. We cannot give in to the world around us and act like sin is no big deal. If it's a big deal to God, which it is, then it should be a big deal to us as well. Never make the mistake of taking sin too lightly, because I can assure you that God does not.
Question to Ponder: Is sin a big deal to you?
Don't Worry...Just Trust in the Lord, Part 3 of 4
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.
I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread.
He is ever merciful, and lends;
And his descendants are blessed.
Depart from evil, and do good;
And dwell forevermore.
- Psalm 37:23-27
Life Isn't Always Fair
But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that [his master's wife] caught him by his garment, saying, "Lie with me." But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. ... So she kept his garment with her until his master came home. Then she spoke to him with words like these, saying, "The Hebrew servant whom you brought to us came in to me to mock me; so it happened, as I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me and fled outside." - Genesis 39:11-12, 16-18
Sometimes in life, something just happens that seems completely unfair. That's what happened to Joseph here. If you continue reading, you will find that Joseph's master threw him into prison because of this. Joseph didn't do anything wrong; he just got in trouble because someone else lied about him. Perhaps you can relate to this, if you've ever been falsely accused of something. But if and when something like that happens, remember that God is always with you, and He always has a plan.
Question to Ponder: If you were falsely accused of something, would you respond with anger or would you still trust in God?
David's Big Sin, Part 5
The archers shot from the wall at your servants; and some of the king's servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also." Then David said to the messenger, "Thus you shall say to Joab: Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another. Strengthen your attack against the city, and overthrow it. So encourage him." - 2 Samuel 11:24-25
After committing adultery with his wife, David intentionally put Uriah in a position in the battle where he would almost certainly be killed. Indirectly, I believe that makes David responsible for Uriah's death. But David acts all innocent when he sends a message back to his army. Instead of taking the blame or admitting any wrongdoing, David just acts like this was the result of random chance in a warzone, when in reality it was the result of his own sin. Even a single, momentary sin can have numerous consequences, and that is one of the things we learn as we explore this part of David's life. However, for David, there are still more consequences to come.
Question to Ponder: Do you accept blame or act innocent when you've done something wrong? What is the proper response?
The Book of Life
"At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book." - Daniel 12:1
Is your name written in God's Book of Life? Are you uncertain? There is a way to be sure. In John 14:6, Jesus tells us that He is "the way, the truth, and the life." Jesus is the way to God the Father. If you're not sure where you will spend eternity, you need to invite Jesus into your heart. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and accept Him as your Savior, placing your faith and trust in Him. That's the way to be sure of where you will spend eternity. Yes, the process seems simple, but for some people, the change of heart can be very difficult. But God wanted to make it as simple as He possibly could for us so that we could spend eternity with Him, because He dearly loves each and every one of us.
Question to Ponder: Are you sure that your name is written in God's book?
The Centurion's Faith
"Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed." ... When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, "I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!" And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick. - Luke 7:7, 9-10
Not only was this centurion humble (as we saw last week), but his faith astounded Jesus, who then replied that He had not seen such great faith anywhere! This was a man who knew who Jesus was and had complete faith in Jesus' ability to heal his servant. He knew that Jesus only had to "say the word" and his servant would be healed. He was certain; he had no doubts. Jesus wants us all to trust Him that much, placing all our faith and trust in Him and not worrying about what will happen. It isn't easy to do, and very few Christians do that as well as we should. But it is something that God calls us to do as we follow Him and His will. He loves us so much, and He asks us to trust His will for our lives in return.
Question to Ponder: How does your faith compare to the faith of this centurion? How often do you have doubts?
All Things Work Together For Good, Part 1 of 2
But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. - Philippians 1:12-14
In Romans 8:28, Paul tells us that "all things work together for good to those who love God." Here, Paul is living those very same words. He is imprisoned as he writes his letter to the Philippians, but he doesn't want them to be discouraged or to think their prayers have not been answered. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Paul's imprisonment is allowing the Gospel to be furthered as he shares God's Word with the guards and his visitors. Another apparent benefit is that Paul's ability to continue preaching even while being imprisoned has helped others to become more bold as they share the Gospel. Just because something looks bad from a worldly point of view doesn't mean it's necessarily a bad thing, and Paul learned that first-hand.
Question to Ponder: Have you ever been in a situation that seemed bad but was ultimately used for God's glory?
Our Economic Downfall
The house of the wicked will be overthrown,
But the tent of the upright will flourish.
- Proverbs 14:11
I strongly believe that sin and living outside of God's will are major factors when it comes to the economic problems we're facing in this country. Sexual sin, adultery, and selfishness are the biggest contributors to the problem, in my opinion. In the past, when our economy was flourishing, most people still lived in a traditional family structure with a husband, wife, and children. In modern times, however, many families have been split apart by divorce, while others are made up of people who are living together with children but aren't even married. I believe the turmoil of the traditional family unit is a key part in our poor economy, because there is so much instability within the home. In many cases, there are now two separate homes instead of one united home. It wouldn't eliminate all our problems (I realize we did have the Great Depression back in the 1930s), but if more families would unite under God's will and follow His plan with regard to marriage and children, I believe our economy would become much more stable.
Question to Ponder: How big of a role do you think the breaking down of the family unit is playing in our economic downfall?
Don't Worry...Just Trust in the Lord, Part 4 of 4
Wait on the Lord,
And keep His way,
And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
I have seen the wicked in great power,
And spreading himself like a native green tree.
Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.
Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright;
For the future of that man is peace.
But the transgressors shall be destroyed together;
The future of the wicked shall be cut off.
But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
He is their strength in the time of trouble.
And the Lord shall help them and deliver them;
He shall deliver them from the wicked,
And save them,
Because they trust in Him.
- Psalm 37:34-40
God's Plan Unfolds
Then Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph's authority, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper. - Genesis 39:20-23
Last Monday, we talked about how Joseph was tossed into prison for something that he didn't even do. But God had a plan all along, and Joseph must have known that, because his faith obviously remained so strong that other people knew they could trust him completely. God was with Joseph in prison, giving him so much favor with the guard that Joseph was put in charge of the other prisoners. Joseph could have sat in a corner and sulked, but instead, he allowed God to continue using him.
Question to Ponder: Can people see your relationship with Jesus enough to trust you as much as this guard trusted Joseph?
David's Big Sin, Part 6
When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord. - 2 Samuel 11:26-27
Although Bathsheba certainly wasn't innocent in this whole ordeal, it was David who came after her and not the other way around. It was also David who got her pregnant and who later arranged for her husband to die in battle. Now, because of all of David's sins (as well as at least one of her own), this woman is mourning the death of her husband at what was most likely a fairly young age. True, since he was fighting in a war, there was always a chance that he would be killed, but David intervened and made it a virtual certainty. The last verse in this chapter seems obvious by this point: Of course everything David had done displeased the Lord! When we do things like that, it displeases Him just as much. We'll take a look at His response over the next few weeks.
Question to Ponder: What are a few things you've done that you know have displeased the Lord?
When Will These Prophecies Be Fulfilled?
"But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." - Daniel 12:4
This is arguably the most significant verse in the book of Daniel if you are considering when the events that are prophesied may take place. One thing is certain: This verse could not have described a time in the past. Thanks to cars, airplanes, and other forms of transportation, people can "run to and fro" like never before (and many people are running to and fro all the time without stopping to truly enjoy life). It has also been said that, with the advent of computers and the internet, knowledge is increasing at incredible rates which have never been seen before. I'm not sure if these prophecies will come true in the near future, or if we still have a ways to go. Anyone who claims to know the answer to that question contradicts the Scripture which says that no one knows the hour when Jesus will return. But this verse certainly could describe our present-day world.
Question to Ponder: If Jesus does come back soon, are you ready?
And when [Jesus] came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise." So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother. - Luke 7:12-15
We can learn a lot about having our priorities in order by following Jesus' example. Jesus was preaching the Gospel and had a large crowd following Him, but despite everything that was going on around Him, He took notice of this widow and her deceased son as He entered the city. He wasn't so caught up in the moment that He lost sight of what really mattered. He felt compassion for this woman and stopped to help her. Although we can't bring someone back to live ourselves, we can show the kind of compassion that Jesus showed to this woman. Never get too busy or too self-absorbed to help someone in need.
Question to Ponder: If you pass by someone who is suffering or hurting, what do you do?
All Things Work Together For Good, Part 2 of 2
Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice. - Philippians 1:15-18
Sadly, some people in this time started to preach the Gospel of Christ to gain attention for themselves or because they were jealous of Paul. Some people still do that today. It's an unfortunate reality that some people can preach the message of Christ but not fully understand it themselves. But Paul doesn't want anyone to be discouraged by that reality. To him, the important part is that the Gospel is being spread. Even if some people have impure motives, the Gospel is still being preached and people are still coming to know the Lord. People who preach with that type of attitude should definitely not be commended for it, but this gives us reassurance that God can use anything for good and to lead more people into His Kingdom.
Question to Ponder: Do you spread the Gospel with pure motives or to draw attention to yourself?
Right to Man, Wrong to God
There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.
- Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25
I unintentionally discovered a couple of years ago that this verse is repeated twice within the book of Proverbs. There may be others that I'm not aware of, but to the best of my knowledge, this is the only such verse in the Bible that is perfectly repeated in this manner. To me, that says that God is trying to send us a very important message--and that just may be the most important message of all. Being a "good person" seems like the right way to live for many people, but the trouble is, we can never be good enough when compared with Jesus. That's where those people go wrong. Living in that manner will lead you to death. There is only one way to eternal life, and that is through Salvation, which only comes through Jesus Christ. Don't let the world deceive you. There is only one way. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him.
Question to Ponder: What makes this verse so important to the Christian?
Money Isn't Everything
A little that a righteous man has
Is better than the riches of many wicked.
For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
But the Lord upholds the righteous.
- Psalm 37:16-17
For the last four Sundays, I have been sharing portions of Psalm 37 with you without adding my own thoughts. Much of this psalm deals with trusting in the Lord to take care of us and not worrying or fretting about what may happen, and the words in the psalm speak for themselves. However, these two verses stuck out as I read through this psalm. So many people in this world are so focused on getting more riches and getting more stuff that they completely miss out on what life is really all about. I know that I would much rather be poor in worldly goods and rich in Spirit than the other way around, and I hope that your outlook on life is similar to that. Some of the best Christian people actually have very little in the way of material possessions. Those are the people who realize what truly matters the most.
Question to Ponder: Do you focus more on being rich in Spirit or rich in worldly goods?
Giving God the Glory
Then the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, had a dream, both of them, each man's dream in one night and each man's dream with its own interpretation. And Joseph came in to them in the morning and looked at them, and saw that they were sad. So he asked Pharaoh's officers who were with him in the custody of his lord's house, saying, "Why do you look so sad today?" And they said to him, "We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it." So Joseph said to them, "Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please." - Genesis 40:5-8
Joseph was still in prison for a crime he did not commit, but he didn't miss an opportunity to help these men with their dilemma. Take a close look at Joseph's response. He didn't say, "I can interpret your dream for you!" Instead, he rightly credited God with the ability to interpret dreams, and showed the other two men that he was a man of God with his ability to interpret their dreams. Far too often we take the credit for ourselves (or give credit to something like "luck") instead of giving God the glory.
Question to Ponder: Do you give God the glory for the gifts He has given you, or do you try to take the glory for yourself?
David's Big Sin, Part 7
Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: "There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb. ... And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him." So David's anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity." Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man!" - 2 Samuel 12:1-3a, 4-7
This parable makes me wonder if David even realized he had sinned with Bathsheba. Surely he knew it was wrong, but perhaps he was so caught up in the moment that he really hadn't stopped to think about how sinfully he was acting. He was ready and eager to judge the man in the parable, but he had not judged himself or taken the time to reflect on his own sins!
Question to Ponder: Are you too quick to judge others without taking a look at your own sins first?