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“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15).
Pastor Bob
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Recent Devotionals

March 2023

LentDevotion#23 – 3.20.23

“LentDevotion#23 – 3.20.23”.

LentDevotionSunday#4 – 3.19.23

“LentDevotionSunday#4 – 3.19.23”.

LentDailyDevotion#21 – 3.17.23

“LentDailyDevotion#21 – 3.17.23”.

LentDevotion#22 – 3.18.23

“LentDevotion#22 – 3.18.23”.

LentDevotion#20 – 3.16.23

“LentDevotion#20 – 3.16.23”.

LentDevotion#19 – 3.15.23

“LentDevotion#19 – 3.15.23”.

LentDevotion#18 – 3.14.23

“LentDevotion#18 – 3.14.23”.

LentDevotion#17 – 3.13.23

“LentDevotion#17 – 3.13.23”.

LentDevotionSunday#3 – 3.12.23

“LentDevotionSunday#3 – 3.12.23”.

LentDevotion#16 – 3.11.23

“LentDevotion#16 – 3.11.23”.

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      1 Samuel 16: 1 – 13 (New International Version) – March 19, 2023                                                  “Samuel Anoints David”

16 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”

Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

Pastor Bob’s Sermon Reflections:

  • The generational journey to get to David begins in the Bible with the story of Hannah. She is a young woman who wants a child but cannot become pregnant. Hannah makes a covenant with God for a baby. She offers to dedicate the child’s life to God if God will grant her a baby.
  • Within a year of the covenant, Hannah is pregnant with Samuel. God is working,
  • Because of God’s faithfulness to Hannah, Hannah stays faithful to God, and she takes little Samuel to the Temple to be dedicated to God.
  • The priest at the Temple is named Eli. He welcomes Hannah and Samuel, dedicates Samuel to God, and then Hannah leaves without Samuel.
  • Eli is now charged with raising Samuel. God has gifted the priest with a blessing, as Eli will soon discover.
  • Samuel is raised in the Temple, and one night, in the quiet darkness, God begins to speak to young Samuel. Samuel is at first confused by the voice, and thinks it’s Eli’s. But, by the third attempt, Eli then realizes that God is trying to speak to Samuel and instructs him to respond with the words, “Speak God, for your servant is listening.” Samuel does.
  • Samuel is now being led by God, and grows to become a great judge and prophet.
  • One day, God sends Samuel to the House of “Jesse of Bethlehem” to discover the new King, and to anoint him as such.
  • Jessie brings out his sons to stand before Samuel, and Samuel concludes that none of these sons is the one being called to be King. “Are these all the sons you have,” Samuel asks Jesse.
  • Jessie tells Samuel there is one more young son, but he is out tending sheep. Hmmm … tending sheep … like a shepherd?
  • Samuel asks to see this youngest of sons, and immediately knows that this son, named David, is the next King of Israel.
  • David becomes the greatest King of all Israel, and most important, becomes a “man after God’s own heart.”

So, what began with a young woman who pleaded with God for a son, ends with that son becoming the prophet who chooses David as the next King.

Some questions from the story of Samuel and David:

  • Jesus is always asking us if we have the “eyes to see.” In this case, those eyes can see how God is working all the time, across generations and through individuals who may never see each other or even know about each other. Can you see how God makes everything right in the end?
  • Can you think about your own life in the same way? How did you get here? Can you see how God was at work for generations to bring you into the world?
  • Can you pause, and be still, and “see” what a great gift from God you are to the people around you? Are you as great, not as great, or not great at all, in the eyes of God?
  • Is this the way it works for everyone? Could your birth/life be a result of centuries of God’s planning, just so you could be here at this time and place … to be a blessing to the people around you? To be a gift from God … just as Samuel was gifted to God by Hannah?
  • Have you ever made a real covenant with God? What was it about? Do you think it may be time for you to make a new covenant with God and to rededicate your life to God, just the way Samuel’s life was?

Let’s Journey to the Cross Together … Pastor Bob <><  


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Excerpts from “Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman“

<>< 4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

<>< 28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

<>< 39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers. 42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Pastor Bob’s Sermon Reflections:

  • In vs. 4, it is written that Jesus “had” to go through Samaria.” Why did He have to go that way?
  • Last week Jesus met privately at night with Nicodemus. This Sunday Jesus meets privately, in the daytime, with a Samaritan woman. Think of the contrast between these 2 individuals: Nicodemus is a Jew; a Pharisee; a man; a chosen one; very religious man. The Samaritan Woman is not a Jew; not a religious leader; a woman; an unclean one; a curious a woman who has had 5 husbands, plus the man she lives with now. What is Jesus teaching us about the differences between these 2 individuals?
  • These 2 individuals share a common “spiritual malady.” They are both “blind” and “literalists.” To what degree are you still “blind” and “literal.”
  • Jesus changes minds and hearts. Think of other gospel stories about people that Jesus “healed” from above: the Gerasene Demoniac; the man born blind; Zacchaeus; Martha (Mary’s sister); the 10th leper; etc. Can you see yourself fitting in with this motley crew? Until then, you may not be able to see the Kingdom of God.
  • When Jesus tells the woman to “go and tell your husband,” He is finding a way for her to admit that she is a sinner. Many people fail to experience Jesus and His love because they cannot admit they have a need for Him to forgive their sins. Can you admit that you’re a sinner who needs redemption from Jesus?

Some conclusions from the lessons of Nicodemus and the Samaritan Woman:

1)        It seems people are always looking for the water in the well that will soothe them and make them whole. Everybody has their “wells” that they keep coming back to – never fully satisfied by well water.

2)        In the same way, people are always looking for a “physical” remedy, not spiritual satisfaction.

3)        Jesus creates a desire for spiritual satisfaction in people.

4)        When you come to Jesus, you must deal with your sin.

5)        No matter what your station in life is; no matter what your religious affiliation or commitment; no matter how rich or poor you are; no matter where you’re from or what you’ve done – Jesus can “open your eyes” to the life of the Spirit.

Let’s Journey to the Cross Together … Pastor Bob <><  

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It always catches me by surprise … even though I should know by now. Whenever you reach out and delve into the place of God’s Spirit, good things are bound to follow.

But then, good things were already happening. I had just finished a really great day and a half in Lexington celebrating the true wonder of having a 2 year old grandson, and celebrating the 90th birthday of my mother-in-law, Phyllis, Amy’s mom. Yes, the time was short. And no, it is never easy to leave … but it sure was a good feeling in my bones when I pulled out to return home to Arthur.

But the most important joy of the day hadn’t happened yet. The trip from Lexington to Arthur begins by getting on Interstate 64 West to Louisville. It is a bit of a tricky entrance ramp from Paris Pike to I-64, so I am always a little extra careful to get in the correct lane. And I did!

As soon as I made the turn for the ramp, there was he was … Dex. He was sitting on the thin concrete median that divided the entrance ramp from the exit ramp. He was leaning on a thin metal post that held a sign helping drivers navigate this ramp correctly. I could only see his back because he was facing the exit ramp, not the entrance ramp. Though it was a pleasant day, he seemed to be bundled up in a coat and blanket, and he was sitting with a “military green” large duffle bag — the same kind of bag that so many homeless veterans carry with them.

I knew immediately what to do. I pulled over as far as I could to be close to him, and I rolled down my window and explained to him that I had something for him. I reached behind my driver’s seat to grab the Blessing Bag I always carry in my car … but I grabbed air instead. The bag was somewhere back there out of my reach and my sight. In the meantime, the homeless vert is standing at my window and cars are beginning to back up on the entrance ramp.

It was at the very moment that I first looked up to see the face of this man. Only … he was more like a boy. Baby-faced. Nice head of hair. No sign of whiskers. This was no older homeless vet from Viet Nam or Korea. This was a homeless vet from Iraq. So young. So innocent. Somebody’s young son. Someone’s grandson.

Since I could not reach the Blessing Bag, and cars were all around us, I did what I normally do not do. I reached for my wallet in the console. I pulled out a wad of cash and handed it to him, telling him this is all I’ve got. He looked at me and took the cash and with a bright-eyed baby face of joy he said, “This will be really good since there is a storm coming up.” Now, the weather at this time was lovely. High blue sky. Intermittent sun and clouds. No sign of a storm, or even rain, in the forecast. But my friend knew the harsh realities of life. He was living those harsh realities. And he knew that another storm was just around the corner.

I was touched by his pleasantness and gratefulness, and his innocence. I knew I had to get that bag for him. So right there, on the entrance ramp, I put my flashers on and got out to look for that bag somewhere in the wilderness land of the back of my car. As I got out, I did what I was trained to do. “My name is Bob,” I said. “I’m Dex,” he replied. I found the bag and opened it just to be sure it was a blessing bag and not a dirty socks bag. He looked into it and his face spread out in wonder … like Christmas morning. He had never seen anything like this. And I had never seen anyone like him.

I wonder how a young vet like Dex has the floor drop completely out of his life? How does this kid end up here, that day, sitting by the highway, talking with me? I wish I had more time to get to know Dex, but the cars were coming more quickly and it was time for me to go. Dex stayed. Took his seat. And waited there all day for folks to offer some help to him.

I am glad I stopped. I am glad he was there for me. I am glad I was there for him. I’m not sure which of us was more blessed by that chance encounter … but I smiled the whole way home. And today I decided to share his story with you. Five minutes of our lives together. That is all we will ever have … me and Dex.

We’re all just seed throwers in this crazy mixed-up world of ours, where our vets struggle with suicide (an average of 20 vets a day commit suicide) and homelessness. And find themselves on the entrance ramps of our country’s highways. Throwing their seeds of desperation and depression at anyone willing to stop and help. Funny thing about those seeds they throw – they land on me, and others, as seeds of the gospel. Seeds of inspiration and hope. Seeds of love and caring for each other. And yes, seeds of Jesus.

I saw Jesus yesterday. His name was Dex. He blessed me and then sent me on my way. He stayed there. He had others to bless.

Let’s Journey to the Cross Together … Pastor Bob <><  

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