1 Samuel 7

I sat down a few minutes ago to read my Bible and spend some time with God. I’m currently reading John and 1 Samuel, alternating days. Today was a 1 Samuel day and I sat down maybe not quite as excited as I should have been. Typically I find myself “getting more” from New Testament books, such as Ephesians or James. Recently, though, I’ve been praying that God reveal Himself to me throughout all of His Word. So I sat down, and by verse 3, God was pounding on my heart.

Samuel told them, If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, get rid of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths (a Canaanite goddess) that are among you, dedicate yourselves to the Lord, and worship only Him. Then He will rescue you from the hand of the Philistines.

Verse 2 says that the whole house of Israel began to seek the Lord, and Samuel’s response was that they had a few things to do!

They needed to:

  1. Get rid of the foreign gods
  2. Dedicate themselves to the Lord
  3. Worship the Lord only

Verse 4 says that they did just that.

A few verses down the Israelites find themselves under threat of the Philistines, so they cried out to Samuel to cry out to God on their behalf. He did, and the Lord answered. After the Philistines fled, Samuel set up a stone, naming it Ebenezer (Stone of Help).

After I finished reading and taking notes, I was rolling this passage around in my head. Samuel had basically told the Israelites to

  1. Remove the things from their lives that were coming between them and God
  2. Set themselves apart for God’s use
  3. Make the Lord their first priority

Then, when there were no things competing for the space between the Israelites and God, He answered Samuel’s prayer. I sat there thinking, “Man, this is good stuff! I need to blog about this!” I then sat at the computer and typed the first few words and thought, “Wait. What is between God and I right now? I can’t sit down and talk about how wonderful and applicable this piece of Scripture is whilst ignoring it in my own life.”

So I did some self-exploration and asked God what my “gods” were; what had I been putting before Him lately, because I knew that I was not where I needed to be. I got three phrases: sleep, laziness, and people-pleasing.

Sleep, I got. I often choose to sleep in, thus forcing something to be at the sidelines – and they tell me I’m not supposed to wear pajamas to school so spending time with God often gets neglected.

Laziness. I got that one too. I don’t know why it often seems like so much work to read my Bible or pray when scrolling through Facebook is all too easy.

People-pleasing. This one took me a minute. It’s not like I’m selling drugs to please people; however, I do tend to strive to make everyone happy all the time. I cannot stand when people are upset or mad at me – or if I even think they are. So I often find myself saying “yes” to things when I’m running myself ragged. I haven’t been resting in God at all recently if I’m to be honest. I people-please and then I stress myself out to the point of exhaustion and tears.

Now, the Israelites did what Samuel told them to do, but we know the Israelites have a track record for resorting back to their own ways. We are no different. I know that if I don’t continually work at my relationship with God, if I don’t continually take my gods off the shelf, I’ll be right back where I was. This blog post is essentially my Ebenezer, a stone of remembrance for taking my gods off the shelf today and to remember to keep them that way.

 

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Things I’ve Learned in my First Four Days Back in School

I can’t believe it’s the second semester of my sophomore year of college already, it absolutely blows my mind.  Today was the fourth day of class, and I’ve already taken away a lot – academic and otherwise – so I thought I would share.

1.) I am now a morning person.  I never – in my entire life – thought I would say this.  I love sleep, I love sleeping in, and I’ve always despised waking up early.  I would always wake up at the last possible minute I could to get everything I needed to done before leaving the house.  Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that Genelle is my best friend, anywho, she is a full-blown believer in The Early Bird Catches the Worm, and I would stay with her and see all that she could accomplish in the morning and how much she actually enjoyed waking up early and yet I still found sleeping thirty extra minutes more appealing. Well, it came the dreaded time to set my alarms for this semester’s classes, and for some reason, I set them earlier than I normally would. I. Love. It. I have time to get ready, drink my coffee, and spend time with God, leading me into my second point.

 

2.) Spending quality time with God – both first thing in the morning and otherwise – is the best thing, like ever.  In the morning I read from whatever book I’m in (currently, Isaiah), I journal while I read it, then I read my morning devotional (currently, Joyce Meyer’s Promises for Your Everyday Life), and then I journal in my normal journal and pray.  I realized yesterday that this takes up nearly half, if not more, of my morning routine, but I also realized how valuable this time is.  I get to get my mind set on Jesus early in the morning before I really do anything else, and best of all, I don’t have to rush.  At night I then read from Psalms or Proverbs (currently, I’m in Psalms), read my nightly devotional (currently, Praise in the Presence of God), and journal again, ending my day the way I began it, with Jesus, and also with reflection of my day.  By starting and ending my day with quality time with God, I’ve shifted priorities and honestly it makes it easier to focus on the right things during the time in between.  But this isn’t something I do to check it off of a checklist, I actually make it a priority to spend quality time with God and with strengthening my faith.  A relationship with God is exactly that – it’s a relationship, not a checklist.

 

3.) Being organized and setting goals is fantastic. College is hard.  It’s true.  There are days when my workload makes me want to cry and eat icecream and never ever ever get out of bed, but then I remember that that’s not much of career. Anywho, Genelle and I were at Wal-Mart getting school supplies and they had a 17×23 inch calendar white board for $7. I couldn’t pass it up! And I’m so glad I didn’t.  It’s great to have everything for the month laid out in front of me, assignments, tests, appointments, babysitting dates, etc.  Also, I decided I need to drink more water, and my goal is at least three bottles a day.  Each day I mark how many bottles I’ve drank on the white board, and boy is that motivation.  Sunday night I was getting ready for bed and realized I had only drank two bottles of water, so I chugged a third – which, honestly, wasn’t the best idea because I had to get out of bed and pee three times before I fell asleep. The point is, being organized and having my goals in front of me makes me a.) stress less and b.) way more motivated to accomplish my goals.

 

4.) In my environmental science class – which we’ve only had one full day of – we’ve talked about how if God created the Earth, shouldn’t we honor it and take care of it? I was really convicted by this.  God did make the Earth, and I believe He did so so we could enjoy it, not destroy it.  Honestly, I had never really thought about this until then, but it’s really convicted me to be more conscious of my decisions (hello, recycling).

 

I’ve learned a lot more than this in my short time back in college, but I wanted to share a few key things from my life, a few lessons I feel God has really laid on my heart.  Until next time, lovelies.

Photo Credit: Eric Rothermel