Editor’s Note: AMI Quiet Times from April 13-19 are written by Pastor Charles Choe of Tapestry LA.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
1 Samuel 27:1 (ESV)
Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.”
The older I get, the more I realize how strong the link between our thoughts and our circumstances is. It’s not an exaggeration to say that for many people their problems stem from the way they think.
Today we come to a very sad passage, beginning in David’s heart as he thinks to himself –disclosing to no one—“Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand” (v.1). Through his own thoughts and with his own words, we find David shaping his immediate future.
King Saul continues to give chase, seeking to kill him. David, discouraged and tired, chose to believe that Saul’s persistence was greater than God’s promise. Whereas he trusted God to provide and guide him in the past, David was eager to pave his own way by leaving Israel and by living among the idol worshipping Philistines.
This is not an account of an incredible act of betrayal, but an example of what happens when we allow our thoughts to get the best of us. Saul could have never forced David to join the Philistines, nor could David have ever imagined joining them when he killed the giant Goliath. But because he began to give heed to his own doubting voice, he found himself, along with six hundred loyal men, leaving the Promised Land, His God and His people to live with the ungodly.
Our thoughts have tremendous power to shape our actions, our circumstances, and even our whole destiny. A negative mind produces negative words, and consequently a negative life. In that sense, our minds can actually become traps that cause us to continue our cycle of negative thoughts and actions. With enough repetitions we will have our personalities formed and defined by our negativity and cynicism.
It’s not that we don’t encounter genuine disappointments in life, but we must continue to remember God is with us and is for us. He has a plan to prosper us and make us succeed. Because the Holy Spirit lives in the believers, we can overcome and find joy even in the midst of our trials. Let us be led by the Spirit of Jesus who lives in us, and let us speak words of life and affirmation to others as well as to ourselves.
Heavenly Father, I praise and exalt You this day. How often have I chosen the path of least resistance, living by sight rather than faith in You. Forgive me once again and strengthen me to always live according to your word of truth.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 50
Lunch Break Study
Read Philippians 4:8-9
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Questions to Consider
- What are we to dwell and meditate on according to this passage?
- Paul is instructing the young church in Philippi to remember his way of life, and to practice them. From what you know of Paul, what is something you can emulate Paul on today?
- Consider the most beautiful thought you have about your relationship with God and dwell on that.
- Anything that is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things
- Among many things, Paul was grateful for the Philippian’s’ generosity. Consider to whom you should be grateful for.
- Personal response.
“Our heavenly Father understands our disappointment, suffering, pain, fear, and doubt. He is always there to encourage our hearts and help us understand that He’s sufficient for all of our needs. When I accepted this as an absolute truth in my life, I found that my worrying stopped.” – Charles Stanley