David had not yet been crowned king when he heard the news that both King Saul and his dearly beloved friend Jonathan had been killed in battle.
How the mighty have fallen, and the weapons of war perished!
2 Samuel 1:27
David had not yet been crowned king when he heard the news that both King Saul and his dearly beloved friend Jonathan had been killed in battle. This news caught David totally by surprise and literally broke his heart. David had great respect and devotion for King Saul and was hoping that one day they would move past their difference and come together and serve the Lord in the spirit of unity. And his heart longed for the rich, godly fellowship he had experienced with Jonathan as iron sharpening iron. It’s no doubt that David loved Jonathan like a brother, and hearing of his death brought a very real and deeply felt grief to David’s heart. His friend was truly gone too soon.
My hope and prayers are that you are not experiencing the deep sorrow and pain that comes from the loss of a love one, but if you are hurting due to the loss of someone you love, please know that you are not alone in your sorrow. Isaiah 53:3 tells us that Jesus, our Savior and Lord “….was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” If we take a close look at 2 Samuel 1:22-26, we will see how David handled his grief, and in turn, learn a few things about how we should handle ours. The text says:
From the blood of the slain, From the fat of the mighty, The bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
And the sword of Saul did not return empty. 23 “Saul and Jonathan were beloved and pleasant in their lives, And in their death they were not divided; They were swifter than eagles,
They were stronger than lions. 24 “O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with luxury; who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. 25 “How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan was slain in your high places. II Samuel 1: 22-26
David did four things to help put his broken heart back together again:
- He cried. In 2 Samuel 1:11 we are simply told that David mourned and wept. David’s eyes became a faucet for him to release soul-cleansing tears. Tears ran down his checks, dropped off his chin and fell to the earth. The same earth that Saul and Jonathan have now returned.
- He honored them. In verse 17, we find that David poured out his heart before the people with a song of lament that spoke about their beauty and their courage. Find ways that uniquely celebrate the memory of your love one and write it down as a memorial to them.
- He trusted in the Will of God. Three times in this passage (verses 19,25, and 27) David calls Saul and Jonathan ‘mighty’. David recognized that, though both men were uniquely flawed, they were loved and anointed by God. David turned his thoughts to the truth that God saw something wonderful in both these men and offered to them the leadership over His people.
- He took comfort that they were finally at rest. In verse 27, we can almost feel a sigh of relief that Saul and Jonathan’s days of battle are now over. David rested in the knowledge that God had called them off the battlefield, never to study war again.
Our loved ones may have gone on before us, but let us remember that we, too, are soldiers in the army of the Lord. Let us keep marching on toward victory until the day we hear our Commander in Chief say, “Come up here, servant of God, well done!”
Published on Jan 31 @ 3:17 AM EDT
As you read today's devotional, play "GRAVES INTO GARDENS from the Sacred Whispers Playlist.
KEEP ON KEEPING ON
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Galatians 6:9 (ESV)
One of the benefits of our January fast is the powerful external motivation that we get to benefit from. Many Christians all over the world choose to begin their new year with a month of fasting. It seems that everywhere you look, people are focusing on committing to spend time with God every day, taking care of their physical bodies through nutrition and or exercise, making goals, and overall setting their lives in order. This year’s “New Life Fast” has been so powerful because the teaching, devotions, and overall focus have combined all of these things together for us. I come to work each day here at New Life, and not once this month has someone brought a cake to work. So, this fast is definitely working!
It’s funny to me how we all know that these things are good for our physical and spiritual health, and we really want to do them consistently throughout our year, but inevitably, at least for me, every year, once the fast is over, I find myself slipping back into my old way of living. For me, it’s the busyness of life. I struggle with the competing priorities of work, life, ministry, and family. Self-care rarely even makes the list! Do I get up early and spend an hour with the Lord reading the word or do I take that same hour for worship and intercession? Then, what about exercise? How do I put in at least 45 mins, but still read, study, worship, pray and get to work on time? Should I get up even earlier? If I do, then what about sleeping well? Maybe I should go to bed earlier, but what about time to check in with my family and others who need ministry?
It can seem like a never-ending cycle of juggling priorities that leads to frustration, especially when we know we have been called to ALL of it, even after the fast is over. In order to be different in 2022, let’s start with asking God to take our goals for spiritual growth, honoring our bodies, loving our families and others, and ask Him for a sustainable plan.
Asheritah Ciuciu, of One Thing Alone Ministries, offers advice that can fit almost any goal that we want to remain in our lives after this fast. Planning is the key because a goal without a plan is just wishful thinking.
The 3 P’s
1. Pick Your Goal
For example, if it is consistent Bible reading, consider what your Bible habit goal is and why that's important to you. Many of us begin Bible reading plans out of guilt or obligation, but those feelings aren’t enough to keep us going when we face obstacles. What is your spiritual growth goal for the next six weeks, and why is it important to you? What is your nutrition or fitness goal, why is that important to you?
2. Pick Your Time
For many of us, morning time is best, but be realistic about your season of life and your schedule, and then pick a time you can actually commit to keeping. Perhaps lunchtime or evening works best for you, or maybe early mornings fit the rhythm of your day better.
Whatever is the best time for you to spend time with God, pick that time and make it a reoccurring priority.
3. Pick Your Place
For Bible reading, find a space that’s well-lit and quiet for your daily devotions. Eliminate distractions by letting others know it’s your devotion time, turn off notifications on your phone, and go ahead and take the dog out now to get that out of the way!
Keep your Bible, notebook, and anything else you need in a basket, so you’ll have everything handy.
For Exercise: Decide ahead of time what you will do and get it prepared in advance. For instance, if you will go to the gym eliminate distractions by packing a gym bag ahead of time and put your keys and shoes by the door. Some people even sleep in workout clothes!
For Healthy Eating: Consider new recipes or foods that seem appealing and create a menu and shopping list for the week before going to the store. Be sure to plan for healthy options, including take-out or frozen foods, for when unexpected things come up that prevent you from cooking or so you can enjoy time out with others and still keep your priorities.
Once you’ve decided on ‘The Three P’s’ above, you’re ready to begin your new God-prioritized habits that can be sustained throughout the year. Jesus doesn’t promise to take away our busyness or to magically make our burdens disappear, but He promises to give wisdom and divine enablement to accomplish all that he has called us to.
God, meet each of us where we are and lead us into success for sustaining the things we are prioritizing for this fast. God, for many of us this is challenging. Please help us to cultivate a mindset of health and wellness in our spirit, soul, and body. Help us rely on You and Your divine enablement when it gets difficult so that we can truly live the abundant life that You promised.
PRACTICAL ACTION TODAY
Choose your 3 P’s and put them into practice today.
Resist the temptation to offer excuses for why you can’t begin doing these today. You and the time you spend with God are vitally important.
Therefore, make every effort to not put this off. Do it now, and watch how quickly and abundantly you will reap the fruit of your decision.
MAKING YOU A PRIORITY
“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little … Because of my house, which remains in ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.”
Haggai 1:9 (NIV)
“Well-ordered self-love is right and natural.”
What do you think is the No. 1 reason people give for not exercising? If you said ‘time’, you’re 100 percent correct. And it may also be your No. 1 reason for not exercising and taking care of yourself as you should.
Upon closer inspection, you’ll see that the problem isn’t really an issue of time (or lack of it), but rather an issue of values—what’s truly important to you? You see, we give our time and attention to what we deem important to us. We say we want to lose weight, but more often than not this goal gets bumped to the bottom of our ‘to-do’ list. So, the real question becomes, “How important is losing weight to you?” Even though most of us would say it’s very important, we’re so stuck in our current routine that it’s impossible to see how we could possibly fit anything else into the day.
In his book, The Purpose Driven Life, best-selling author Rick Warren teaches us that we have just enough time to do what God’s called us to do, and if we can’t get it all done it means we’re trying to do more than God intended. Are there things in your life that take up too much of your time and don’t leave you time to do the things you really want? Then it’s time to take stock of what you really want and begin to reshape your schedule to make it a priority. When God is first in your life, He will help you to order your priorities and help you see that you need to be healthy in body, soul, and spirit in order to fulfill His calling on your life.
In the book of Haggai, we learn an important lesson about prioritizing our time. God had given the Jews an assignment to finish the temple when they returned from captivity. Like most of us, they got busy, forgot their priorities, and grew apathetic to things that were once important to them. Through Haggai, God challenged them to action: “‘You expected much, but it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?’” declares the Lord Almighty. “‘Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.’” (Haggai 1:9) Has God been calling you to rebuild His temple, which is your body?
Father, I thank You that when I put You first, You teach me how to prioritize. My steps are ordered by You. I do first things first. I seek Your kingdom above all else, and in doing so You teach me how to make the most of my day. In all I do, I worship You. My time is in Your hands and You have blessed it and given me good success.
May my body truly become Your temple. In Jesus Name, Amen.
1. Like the people of Judah, our problem is also with misguided priorities. Take some time and reflect on where God fits into your priorities. Is He first?
2. There are consequences to not giving God first place in your lives. In the book of Haggai, we learn that the Jews’ work was not productive and they were unfulfilled with their material possessions. What are some of the consequences you’re experiencing with not putting God first?
“You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”(Haggai 1:6)
3. How will making God a priority help you to make yourself more of a priority?
PRACTICAL ACTION TODAY
Make yourself a priority this week by saying ‘no’ to many other things that are vying for your time. Your challenge today is to say ‘no’ to any competing priority that conflicts with caring for your body and making your personal health your main priority. Practice the art of saying ‘no’ this week to anything outside of work and family that comes before your health, and share your experience with an accountability partner.
Above Content taken from:
Morenzie, Cathy. Healthy by Design: Weight Loss, God's Way: The Proven 21-Day Weight Loss Devotional Bible Study - Lose Weight for Life, Deepen Your Faith, End Overwhelm & Doubt [Christian Weight Loss Workbook) (pp. 99-102). Guiding Light Publishing.
Published on Jan 20 @ 12:09 AM EDT