March 21 – March 27, 2017

WORD

1The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul?  I have rejected him from being king over Israel.  Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”  2Samuel said, “How can I go?  If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.”  And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’  3Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.”  4Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem.  The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?”  5He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.”  And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

6When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.”  7But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”  8Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel.  He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.”  9Then Jesse made Shammah pass by.  And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.”  10Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.”  11Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?”  And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.”  And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.”  12He sent and brought him in.  Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome.  The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.”  13Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.  Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

1 Samuel 16:1-13

Reading Scripture to Know:

  • What is happening/being said? (Observation)
  • Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
  • What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
  • What does it mean? (Understanding)
  • What does it mean for us? (Application)

Reading Scripture to Grow:

  • What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
  • Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
  • How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
  • How does this Scripture reveal God?
  • How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
  • What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?

Scripture Reads Me:

  • This passage makes me feel…
  • This passage makes me think about…
  • This passage reminds me of…
  • This passage teaches me that God is…
  • This passages teaches me that I am…
  • This passage challenges me to…

Reflection: The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

God does not choose in the way we choose.  What seems insignificant to us might be of incredible significance to God.  Look, for instance, at the ladybug in picture above.  If we were even to notice this little creature as we go about our day, we might be tempted to dismiss it as meaningless, simply ignore it, or crush it.  Yet God has crafted every wing, painted every dot, and formed each frail leg of the ladybug.  Even more so, God has given a specific task to the ladybug that only the ladybug can fulfill.

There has been much talk over the past few years about the danger of losing such creatures that might seem insignificant to us.  Bees, for instance, are creeping into that dangerous designation of being endangered.  Yet our crops cannot survive without the work of bees.  God has created our world in such a way that every creature, even the smallest bacteria in our stomachs that aid in digestion, has a responsibility in making that world thrive.  Oftentimes it is those small, unseen aspects of creation that have the most critical responsibilities.  After all, God brought kingdoms to ruin through the lowly locust and saved the world through the life of a small baby.

Perhaps you have felt insignificant in your life.  Perhaps people have judged you based on what they see on the outside.  God sees you for who you are as a whole human being, his child with a beautiful heart, strong mind, and gracious spirit.  Furthermore, God has given your body to you – in whatever precious size, shape, or color – to be the temple (the dwelling place!) of the Holy Spirit.  God might be choosing you today for a task in the economy of the Kingdom that you feel is beyond your outward abilities.  Trust the one who sees your whole self and respond with all your mind, heart, body, and spirit in faithfulness to God’s call and God’s choice.

Daily Readings: 

  • Tuesday, March 21 – Philippians 1
  • Wednesday, March 22 – Philippians 2
  • Thursday, March 23 – Philippians 3
  • Friday, March 24 – Philippians 4
  • Saturday, March 25 – Colossians 1
  • Sunday, March 26 – Colossians 2
  • Monday, March 27 –  Colossians 3

SPIRIT

Prayer Focus: There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.

Keeping the sheep was not a glorious job.  Those who were relegated to the dirtiest jobs were often overlooked in society.  The same can tragically be true today.  There are so many people who work in thankless, difficult, mundane, and grimy jobs, without whom our society would not function.  Pray for those today who work in difficult, dangerous, or dirty jobs.  Ask God to bless with grace, love, and protection the coal miners, field hands, trash and sewage workers, those who clean businesses, houses, and hotels, and the many others who give themselves in service to our world in such ways.  May your prayer for them be expressed in a verbal offering of thanksgiving to those who serve in those tasks.  May God give us all the eyes and hearts to see and appreciate the people who faithfully do these unattractive but necessary jobs.

Meditation Focus: You shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.

Sometimes it is very difficult in our world to know what God has anointed and what is not anointed by God.  In the Scripture, anointing was an act of pouring oil over a person or thing set aside for a particular, holy work of God.  We might think of anointing today as that upon which the Holy Spirit is poured out in order to empower someone or something for God’s work and glory.  For instance, God has appointed persons to certain tasks and works within the kingdom; all of us have been anointed for a particular function within God’s overall work of creating, redeeming, and sustaining the cosmos.  God has anointed the Scriptures and practices such as prayer and meditation to speak into our lives and help us grow in knowledge, wisdom, and communion with God.  God has anointed certain systems, like the family and the Church, to nurture us.  There are certain activities, systems, and realities, however, that are not anointed of God, things that threaten to harm us or lead us away from God.  Sometimes these realities have the appearance of goodness, but are in actuality opposed to God’s designs for us.

This week descend into a deep time of silence.  In your mind, picture yourself bowing in prayer.  Imagine God walking to you with a large clay jar.  Watch as God pours the contents of the jar over your head.  Out flows a rich, soothing oil.  It is the oil of the Holy Spirit.  The oil runs down your head, over your shoulders, flowing all the way down to your toes.  You are now covered in the Holy Spirit – you are anointed for God’s purposes.  Sit with that feeling of God’s anointing upon you.  Take special note, with focused intention and attention, of how it feels, how you think, and how it inspires you.  Then as you go through your week, notice what people, tasks, and places feel the same.  What calls out to you in that anointed presence of God?  Perhaps God is calling you specifically to these places, these people, these tasks, these systems, and these realities.  Take note as well of those realities that make you feel the opposite, those things that clash and push against that awareness of anointing.  Perhaps God is calling you away from these realities.  Let the anointing of God flow freely over you and respond to the Spirit’s promptings of love.

Journaling Focus: The spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.

How do you know if the Holy Spirit is present with you?  How do you sense or feel the Spirit?  Take a moment to sit silently, waiting upon the Spirit.  Are you aware that you are not alone?  Do you feel encouraged in holy love or filled with unmistakable grace?  As you go through your day acknowledge the presence of the Spirit in every setting by slowly breathing in and out and whispering in your heart, “The Spirit is here.”  Write about the difference this awareness of the Spirit makes on your day.  Consider in what ways you sense the Spirit and write out a list of “Spirit-reminders” (such as, “I sense the Spirit when…” or “I saw the Spirit move today at/in…”).  Save this list to serve as a guide to orient you to the movement of the Holy Spirit.

Holy Action: 

This week, give special attention to that which is overlooked.  Find one thing that is small and seemingly insignificant.  Spend some time looking at it, pondering it, and considering its value and worth.  Simply observe that which seems tiny or trivial and ask God to reveal to you its worth and meaning.  Cry out to God, “Give me the overlooked, the weak, and the small!”

Breath Prayer: Father, anoint us for your work.

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