1 Samuel 4 - Day 338 (link to today's reading)
Scripture: 1 Samuel 4:1-11
Observation: The Israelites were at war with the Philistines and were soundly defeated. In despair, they presumptuously called for the Ark of the Covenant, thinking that God would be with them.
Application: God is not a lucky charm. The Israelites thought that bringing the Ark of the Covenant with them into battle would guarantee their victory. However, God allowed the Israelites to be slaughtered by the Philistines. There are a lot of people today who think that God is on their side and presumptuously make bold predictions. I choose to humbly ask God to accept my allegiance and allow me to join whatever He is doing.
Prayer: Lord, have mercy on me a sinner...
1 Samuel 3 - Day 337 (link to today's reading)
Scripture: 1 Samuel 3:1-14
Observation: The author reveals that "in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon."
Application: Personally, I think God is speaking to us, His creation, all the time. However, we're the ones who aren't listening. If we slow down and intentionally listen for the Lord, we'll learn to recognize His voice and hear Him speaking to us.
Prayer: Come, thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace...
1 Samuel 2 - Day 336 (link to today's reading)
Scripture: 1 Samuel 2:12-17
Observation: Eli, the priest, had two sons who abused their power for their own gain.
Application: Sin separates us from God. As we learned in the book of Judges, the Israelites did what was right in their own sight because they did not have a king. Ironically, God was their King. This chapter reveals that like a contagious virus, the sins of Israel had spread to the royal priesthood. Take heed and examine yourself - repent and seek God's forgiveness.
Prayer: Lord, have mercy on me a sinner....
1 Samuel 1 - Day 335 (link to today's reading)
Summary: First Samuel records the history of Israel in the land of Canaan as they move from the rule of judges to be a unified nation under kings. Samuel emerges as the last judge, and he anoints the first two kings, Saul and David.
Scripture: 1 Samuel 1:9-18
Application: God hears our prayers, even when we don't think that He is listening. Year after year, Hannah prayed for God to open her womb but her prayers went unanswered. Then suddenly, when the time was right, He opened her womb and she conceived a son. Does that mean that everyone who prays earnestly will conceive? Not necessarily, it just means that God has a plan and in the end, we'll understand that it was "good."
Prayer: Lord, please help me to trust that Your plans are good...
Romans 16 - Day 334 (link to today's reading)
Scripture: Romans 16:1
Observation: Paul introduces Phoebe, a deaconess in the church in Cenchrea, to the Christians in Rome.
Application: Without Jesus, the world would be very different today and I believe that men would still treat women as expendable objects whose sole purpose is to bear children (consider the Taliban Muslims who ruled Afghanistan with and iron first in the 1990's). Jesus, on the other hand, viewed and accepted women as equals for they are also created in the image of God.
Prayer: Lord, help me to support and promote Your daughters at Waiokeola...