by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 13:1–14
When God scans the earth for potential leaders, He is not on a search for angels in the flesh. He is certainly not looking for perfect people, since there are none. He is searching for men and women like you and me, mere people made up of flesh, bone, and blood. But He is also looking for certain qualities in those people, like the qualities He found in David.
The first quality God saw in David was a heart for God. “The Lord has sought out . . . a man after His own heart.” What does it mean to be a person after God’s own heart? Seems to me, it means that you are a person whose life is in harmony with the Lord. What is important to Him is important to you. What burdens Him burdens you. When He says, “Go to the right,” you go to the right. When He says, “Stop that in your life,” you stop it. When He says, “This is something I want you to change,” you come to terms with it because you have a heart for God. That’s bottom-line biblical Christianity.
When you are deeply spiritual, you have a heart that is sensitive to the things of God. A parallel verse in 2 Chronicles confirms this: “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9, emphasis added).
What is God looking for? He is looking for men and women whose hearts are completely His—completely. That means there are no locked closets. Nothing’s been swept under the rugs. That means that when you do wrong, you admit it and immediately come to terms with it. You’re grieved over wrong. You’re concerned about those things that displease your heavenly Father. You long to please Him in your actions. You care about the motives behind your actions. That’s having a heart for God, and that’s the first quality David had. Do you have a heart for God?
Jeremiah 33:3 – Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
This scripture, originally spoken to Jeremiah about the fate of Jerusalem, holds a promise that is true in special ways for us as well. God wants us to call to Him. It is God’s desire to shower His faithful children with blessings and goodness. God often waits for us to ask before He blesses us with what He longs to give us. Yet we lack the ability to comprehend and receive all the great truth about God. He is simply too awesome and glorious for us to fully comprehend Him and His grace.
Matthew 14:25-27 – And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
Many have seen the “Pale Horse and Rider in Egypt” that was captured on video footage by news journalists recently. A spectral image that seems to ride above the heads of demonstrators in the streets of Egypt during their Middle-Eastern conflict before vanishing into thin air. It has raised many questions, doubts and fears among a variety of people. Some claim it to be prophesy being fulfilled from the book of Revelation, others claim it is a hoax or a conspiracy of sorts. I, myself am not certain of what it is. What I do know is that Jesus Christ and God’s Holy Word is real, and though no one knows the hour or the day in which He will return…He is going to return and we should be ready!
It should not matter if the image of the horse and rider is real or fake. What should matter most is the personal relationship we have with Jesus Christ. There have been, and will continue to be many unanswered and unexplainable events in this world – both good and bad, but as long as our faith and trust in Jesus remains firm we have no reason to be fearful.
When those who knew Jesus and those Jesus also knew saw Him walking on the water and were afraid, He told them “…It is I, be not afraid.”
Do you know Jesus? Does He know you?
If we know Jesus, and He knows us – We have nothing to be afraid of.
Ephesians 3:17-19 – that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
God’s love is total, says Paul. It reaches every corner of our experience. It is wide—it covers the breadth of our own experience, and it reaches out to the whole world. God’s love is long—it continues the length of our lives. It is high—it rises to the heights of our celebration and elation. His love is deep—it reaches to the depths of discouragement, despair, and even death. When you feel shut out or isolated, remember that you can never be lost to God’s love.
The “fullness” of his love is fully expressed only in Christ (Colossians 2:9, 10). In union with Christ and through his empowering Spirit, we are complete. We have all the fullness of God available to us. But we must appropriate that fullness through faith and through prayer as we daily live for him.
John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
What Jesus taught and what he did are tied inseparably to who he is. The Bible shows Jesus as fully human and fully God. Although Jesus took upon himself full humanity and lived as a man, he never ceased to be the eternal God who has always existed, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and the source of eternal life. This is the truth about Jesus, and the foundation of all truth. If we cannot or do not believe this basic truth, we will not have enough faith to trust our eternal destiny to him. That is why John wrote this Gospel-to build faith and confidence in Jesus Christ so that we may believe that he truly was and is the Son of God.
This is one of the most basic and important passages in Scripture. How can we know the way to God? Only through Jesus. Jesus is the way because he is both God and man. By uniting our life with his, we are united with God. Trust Jesus to take you to the Father, and all the benefits of being God’s child will be yours!
JESUS ESTABLISHED THE WAY OF SALVATION FOR THE HUMAN RACE. HE CAME TO EARTH TO SAVE US BECAUSE WE CAN’T SAVE OURSELVES FROM SIN AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. NO MATTER HOW GOOD WE ARE, WE CAN’T ELIMINATE THE SINFUL NATURE PRESENT IN ALL OF US. ONLY JESUS CAN DO THAT. JESUS DIDN’T COME TO HELP PEOPLE SAVE THEMSELVES; HE CAME TO BE THEIR SAVIOR FROM THE POWER AND PENALTY OF SIN. THANK CHRIST FOR HIS DEATH ON THE CROSS FOR YOUR SIN, AND THEN ASK HIM TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE. YOUR NEW LIFE BEGINS AT THAT MOMENT.
Luke 8:23-24 – But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
As Jesus and his disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee, a fierce storm came upon them. Jesus was asleep and his disciples were afraid that the storm would capsize their vessel and they would all drown. They awoke Jesus and he “rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased , and there was calm.”
At many times throughout our lives we will be faced with hardship or trouble: turbulent storms that create disruption in our day to day living. Most often these storms come with little or no warning, and so we find ourselves devastated and unprepared to handle them. The uncertainty and confusion created by these storms in our lives can lead to fear and panic. Christians are not immune to the storms that others face. However, if we know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and we hold tight to our faith in him, we can experience peace amid the storm. Those of us who are faithful followers of Christ have the blessed assurance that Jesus will help us navigate the raging waters that we encounter – that he will calm the storm.
Philippians 3:8-9 – “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:”
Imagine a father who often travels and works long hours while at home. He seldom sees his ten-year-old son. But the boy’s birthday is coming so the father leaves a note: “Will be out of town on your birthday, but will return Saturday with gift. What would you like—video game, bike, stereo? Circle the one you want.” The father can afford about anything the boy could ever want. Late that night, the dad sees what his son has circled—“Saturday.”
The boy could have chosen any plaything he wanted, but most of all he wanted to spend time with, and get to know his father. That’s the heart of this familiar spiritual. “Just a closer walk with Thee,” that’s all we ask. As Paul said, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).
Fortunately, we don’t have an “absentee” heavenly Father. He is there for us and will grant this request. It is his desire for us to spend time getting to know him. He is happy to walk with us, to share our burdens, to guide us safely to the shore of His kingdom.