VIDEO Thoroughly Equipped

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed [David] in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. 1 Samuel 16:13


On the day of His ascension to heaven, Jesus prepared His disciples for the task that was before them. He explained the Old Testament Scriptures to them (Luke 24:45), He outlined their mission (Luke 24:47), and He told them they would receive “power from on high” (Luke 24:49) from the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Thus, He revealed the two dynamics that would equip all who would follow Him: Word and Spirit.

The equipping of believers by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit became the hallmarks of Christian discipleship. By the Spirit, we are given gifts, abilities, and traits to manifest the ministry of Christ in the world (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Galatians 5). And by the Word of God we are taught, challenged, corrected, and trained so we “may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 

Do you want to be useful to God in ministry? Yield to the Spirit of God and live in the Word of God, and you will be thoroughly equipped.

Every man who is divinely called to the ministry is divinely equipped. A. W. Pink

1 Samuel 16:1-13 – God’s Kind of King

Places of the Heart

You shall not make for yourself an image. Exodus 20:4

Here are some vacation tips: The next time you’re traveling through Middleton, Wisconsin, you might want to visit the National Mustard Museum. For those of us who feel that one mustard is plenty, this place amazes, featuring 6,090 different mustards from around the world. In McLean, Texas, you might be surprised to run across the Barbed Wire Museum—or more surprised there is such a passion for, well . . . fencing.

It’s telling what kinds of things we choose to make important. One writer says you could do worse than spend an afternoon at the Banana Museum (though we beg to differ).

We laugh in fun, yet it’s sobering to admit we maintain our own museums—places of the heart where we celebrate certain idols of our own making. God instructs us, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3) and “you shall not bow down to them or worship them” (v. 5). But we do anyway, creating our own graven gods, perhaps of wealth or lust or success—or of some other fill-in-the-blank “treasure” we worship in secret.

It’s easy to read this passage and miss the point. Yes, God holds us accountable for the museums of sin we create. But He also speaks of “showing love to a thousand generations of those who love [Him]” (v. 6). He knows how trivial our “museums” really are. He knows our true satisfaction lies only in our love for Him.

By:  Kenneth Petersen

Reflect & Pray

What is an area of sin that you keep secret? How will you give it to God?

Dear God, I want You to be at the center of my life. Help me rid myself of the idols I keep.

When God Wants Our Attention

When you feel restless, spend extra time with God in prayer; He may be leading you to something new 1 Samuel 3:1-21

Have you ever felt restless, as if something’s not quite right? At times God will use that feeling to get our attention. Take Samuel, for example. He literally couldn’t rest because a voice kept calling his name in the dark, and he assumed it was Eli the priest calling out. Finally, after the third interruption, Eli realized the boy was hearing God’s voice.

For Samuel, the sense of restlessness was physical, but it can also manifest as a mental or emotional feeling. This can be something God uses to guide us toward new insights, as He did in revealing Samuel would become a prophet. At first, this information made Samuel anxious—he was afraid to tell Eli about God’s judgment and didn’t sleep that night. He might even have wished he’d ignored that feeling of uneasiness. Ultimately, though, the distress proved worthwhile: Scripture tells us that “Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and He let none of his words fail” (1 Sam. 3:19). 

No matter how or why God lets us feel unsettled, His purpose is always good. So we can trust the Lord and safely investigate our feelings of restlessness without fear. Seek to listen and obey. Then even if you, like Samuel, aren’t sure where the uneasiness is coming from, God won’t let you miss out. He is in control and His plans cannot be thwarted.

Why Does It Often Take A Crisis Before We Totally Surrender Our Lives To God?

A disintegrating marriage

One of our kids on drugs

A failed business venture


My guess is that total surrender to God is not something that comes easily for you, especially if you are the kind of person who can “make things happen” rather easily.

After all, why bother trusting God when you can pull things off so effortlessly on your own?

St. Paul, a man of no meager ability, also struggled with total dependence upon God. The fact that he was the product of an enviable pedigree, possessed the equivalent of two or three Ph.D’s, and had political connections that would be the envy of any power broker, made dependency upon God just that much more difficult.

After all, if anyone could pull things off on their own, it was Paul.


We do not want you to be uninformedabout the hardship we sufferedWe were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of lifeIndeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death…”


But this happened that we might not rely upon ourselves but on God… “(2 Corinthians 1:8, 9)

So… if you tend toward cool-headed self-reliance that pushes God to the edges of your daily life, hold on to your hat:

Your loving Father is committed to arranging the circumstances in your world

  • to get your attention, or
  • to take you to the brink, if necessary:


“In the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.”

Luke 11:37-54

Luke 11:37

If he meant the invitation kindly, our Lord accepted of it in kindness to him; and if he intended it as a means of watching him, the Lord showed that he was not afraid of his keenest glances. Truth baffles spies, and therefore fears them not.

Luke 11:38

The merely outward ceremony of bathing their hands before eating was made so much of by the Pharisees that our Lord purposely abstained from it. He came to teach the religion which cleanses the heart, not that which begins and ends with the body. It is the duty of the followers of Jesus to discourage in all possible ways the superstitious observances of modern Ritualists, who are the Pharisees of the period.

Luke 11:41

When benevolence offers a portion of her substance to the poor, she sanctifies the rest. To wash ones hands of greediness is better than a hundred washings in water.

Luke 11:42

Only a hypocrite will exalt trifles above important duties, and he only does so to be thought exceedingly strict. The tithe of small herbs could not amount to much, and was only paid in order to make men say, “How scrupulous the Pharisees are!”

Luke 11:44

Their hearts were full of wickedness, and yet they bore a high repute; and so were like graves which are green above ground, but are full of rottenness within, where the eye of man cannot see.

Luke 11:45

lawyers or teachers of the law

Luke 11:45

It touched his conscience as the Lord intended it should.

Luke 11:46-48

They pretended to honour the prophets by erecting memorials to them; but inasmuch as they continued in the sins of their persecuting sires, he accuses them of perpetrating and perfecting their parents acts; the fathers killed and buried the saints, and the sons built their sepulchres.

Luke 11:51

Read the story of the siege of Jerusalem, and the just vengeance of God upon the Jews will be before you.

Luke 11:52-54

Burkitt, in his Commentary, here writes, “When any lie in wait to catch something out of our mouth that they may ensnare us, give us thy prudence and thy patience, O Lord, that we may not give occasion to those who seek occasion against us.”

Without Feeling?

Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:19)

I do know something of the emotional life that goes along with conversion to Jesus Christ. I came into the kingdom of God with joy, knowing that I had been forgiven.

I have had people tell me very dogmatically that they will never allow “feeling” to have any part in their spiritual life and experience.

“Too bad for you!” is my reply.

I say that because I have voiced a very real definition of what I believe true worship to be: “Worship is to feel in the heart!”

In the Christian faith, we should be able to use the word “feel” boldly and without apology. What worse thing could be said of us as the Christian church if it can be said of us that we are a feelingless people?

I think we must agree that those of us who have been blest within our own beings would not join in any crusade to “follow your feelings.” But if there is no feeling at all in our hearts, then we are dead!

VIDEO The Heart Above All

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. In his speech, he said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”1

That dream has not yet been realized. But God does not see people based on their race, nationality, or social background. When Samuel was choosing Israel’s next king from among Jesse’s sons, God specifically told him not to look at external qualities. Instead, he was to choose as God chooses—on the basis of the heart (1 Samuel 16:1-13).

When we look at people, let us view them as God does, not as the world does. Let us appreciate their heart above all. 

When we begin to see people through God’s eyes, our focus will change from looks to life. 
David C. McCasland

1 “Martin Luther King Jr.: I Have a Dream,” American Rhetoric.

What God Sees — 1 Samuel 16:6-7


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1

I recently came across a helpful word: wintering. Just as winter is a time of slowing down in much of the natural world, author Katherine May uses this word to describe our need to rest and recuperate during life’s “cold” seasons. I found the analogy helpful after losing my father to cancer, which sapped me of energy for months. Resentful of this forced slowing down, I fought against my winter, praying summer’s life would return. But I had much to learn.

Ecclesiastes famously says there’s “a season for every activity under the heavens”—a time to plant and to harvest, to weep and to laugh, to mourn and to dance (3:1–4). I had read these words for years but only started to understand them in my wintering season. For though we have little control over them, each season is finite and will pass when its work is done. And while we can’t always fathom what it is, God is doing something significant in us through them (v. 11). My time of mourning wasn’t over. When it was, dancing would return. Just as plants and animals don’t fight winter, I needed to rest and let it do its renewing work.

“Lord,” a friend prayed, “would You do Your good work in Sheridan during this difficult season.” It was a better prayer than mine. For in God’s hands, seasons are purposeful things. Let’s submit to His renewing work in each one.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

When have you wanted a season to end before its time? What do you think God wants to do in you this season?

Father God, thank You for using every season for Your glory and my good.

For further study, read When God Says No: Broken Dreams to New Beginnings.

When We Feel Frustrated

We can take our concerns to God and rest in the peace He provides Philippians 4:10-13

In difficult seasons, it’s natural to want to make changes—such as quitting a job, ending a friendship, or moving away—in order to resolve frustration. But first we should investigate the cause. Discontentment may come from:

• Inability to accept ourselves as we were created. The talents, personality, and physical attributes God gave us are exactly what we need to follow His will for our life. Dwelling on the things we lack or would change distracts us from our purpose. 

• Reluctance to deal with our past. We can’t move beyond painful memories and mistakes until we confront the emotional or psychological issues that resulted from them. 

• Holding on to ungodly behaviors or attitudes. Sin naturally breeds discontentment. But Psalm 119:165 says, “Those who love Your Law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.”  

The key to contentment lies not in our circumstances but in God Himself. The next time you’re frustrated and want to change your situation, take a moment to look inward: Do you accept who God made you to be? Are you in need of His healing? Should you approach Him in repentance? Whatever the case may be, turn to the Lord—He is the source of true peace and fulfillment.

Wisdom for Encountering Trials

“Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:2-5)

Do you count trials as “joy”? Well, that’s what James commands in these beginning verses. His letter was directed to those Jewish saints who were scattered abroad—victims of intense persecution, hunted down because of their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let’s face it, we naturally dislike trials, with their accompanying chastening. Solomon acknowledged this resistance when he penned, “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction” (Proverbs 3:11). But trials have a targeted purpose in sanctification as God strategically perfects the believer in his pilgrim’s progress.

Who is your go-to first responder for wisdom when trials come knocking at your door? Maybe you seek a spouse, or friend, or you post on social media. Those choices may be helpful, but they’re limited at best. Instead, James 1:5 instructs believers that our Lord Jesus Christ is one prayer away.

Additionally, He freely and quickly gives the needed wisdom for our struggle. What could ever compete with divine wisdom’s offer? Certainly not the cumulative riches of this world (Proverbs 3:13-15). What’s more, our Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, skillfully used this same wisdom to speak His creation into existence (Genesis 1–2), shaping the universe into perfection (Hebrews 11:3). Our part is to ask “in faith, [with] nothing wavering” (James 1:6) for this supreme wisdom. What are you waiting for? CM