Proverbs 15:13-15 says, "A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken. The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on folly. All the days of the afflicted are bad, But a cheerful heart has a continual feast."

Recently, I had a horrible experience with a couple who I thought were my friends. In the wake of this experience, I have struggled with my emotions as they go back and forth from optimism to anger. Unfortunately, what we think often influences what we do and what we say. If not in check by the power of the Holy Spirit, the negativity will feed on itself and the behaviors that grow are not godly. In fact, in many instances they are just plain sinful. On the other hand optimism breeds more joy.

Which attitude would you prefer? Would you rather have a cheerful disposition or one with negative emotions? As I release this to the Lord, I am filled with His joy and enjoying a feast of His fellowship. 

It is widely accepted that as a leader goes so goes a nation or for that matter an organization. It is also true that as a man goes, so goes his home. This includes when men are engaged and when they have abandoned their responsibilities. Whether you are more engaged as a leader or not, this principle is still true.

A man never outgrows temptation. In fact, the older a man gets the more time Satan has to find the kink in his armor. In 2 Samuel 24 God gave David nine months to realize his sin and repent, yet he did not. It took the discipline of God for David to make the correct sacrifice, stop the plague, and usher in the revival of answered prayer.

What is the condition of your home? If Satan were to find a kink in your armor, where would it be? Do you need to confess a sin that is hindering your marriage and or leading your home? How can you better lovingly lead in your home and set a godly example?

These wise men traveled thousands of miles to find the new born King of the Jews. When they did find Him, they poured out lavish gifts fit for a king in an act of worship. This is not how people react today. Most people go to God wanting Him to give them gifts rather than giving gifts to Him. Those who are wise still seek and worship Jesus today, not for what they can get, but for who He is. God with us. 

Are you taking some time this Christmas season to worship?

“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” ... When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. (Matthew 2:2, 10-12).

Even a decision to do nothing is an action that often results in a consequence. In 2 Samuel 20:10-12 once again we see David allowing Joab to murder someone and allow his act to go unpunished just like he did with Abner (2 Samuel 3:26-27). Sometimes treachery appears to go unpunished in our fallen world; however, God’s justice is not limited to the rewards and punishments on this earth. Sooner or later everyone faces the Lord’s judgment just like Joab (1 Kings 2:28-35).

With all the chaos going on in our world, with all the riots in our streets, with all the rebellion in peoples hearts and with all the evil decisions coming from our political leaders, it is refreshing to know God  will have His way in the end.  

In Psalm 86 David displays devoted trust during times of deep trouble. His life is in jeopardy and he pours his heart out before the Lord. He can’t see immediate relief in sight so he acknowledges the greatness of God, asks for lessons in the right way to live, and prays for a sign of God’s goodness. He knows God answers prayer.

Sometimes the troubles in life are so great that all we can do is cry out to God for mercy, forgiveness, relief, and restitution. When relief is slow to come, we can acknowledge the goodness of God and wait on His answers. He will always answer our prayers but not always in our desired time frame or in our desired outcomes.

In 2 Samuel 7:18-29 David understood the blessings from God to him and his descendants would impact his family heredity, the people of Israel, and ultimately every nation on earth. Ever since Genesis, God continues to fulfill His greater purpose through His promises.

The crowning fulfillment of these promises is in Jesus Christ. He lived a sinless life and provided salvation for the human race through His life, death, and resurrection. After His death, he arose from the grave to sit at the right hand of God. There, He reigns until His enemies become a footstool for His feet (Hebrews 1:8-13). God keeps His promises.

How does this promise from God impact your life and or the life of your family? What are some promises from God that incite you to offer the Lord praises and thanksgivings?

Sometimes God speaks through His word, circumstances, people, peace of mind, Holy Spirit, and prayer. Occasionally, He uses all of them but most of the time one will stand out. Yesterday at the end of a church service, the worship team played Take Me In.  As I sang these words the truth hit me and I found myself going in to the presence of God. 

Take me past the outer courts
Into the holy place
Past the brazen altar
Lord, I want to see your face

Pass me by the crowds of people
The priests who sing your praise
I hunger and thirst for your righteousness
And it's only found one place

Take me in to the holy of  holies
Take me in by the blood of the lamb
Take me in to the holy of  holies
Take the coal, cleanse my lips, here I am

Here I am Lord, send me.

Read more: Petra - Take Me In Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

1. Take Me In - 

In verse 2 Samuel 5:12 we see that David realized the Lord had established him on the throne. In contrast the pagan leaders based their rise to power on military might, battlefield victories, and a sizable war chest. True greatness in a leader comes from walking with God privately and publically. Although David was famous, successful, and popular, he gave God first place in his life and served the people according to God’s purposes. 

Just as David rules over the entire nation, Christ should rule over an entire man’s life and ministry. Anything left outside of God’s will is sure to bring rebellion and strife. Every man in the family of God needs to invite Him to reign over all of his life. With Christ as Lord, men experience peace and victory. 

Is there an area in our life that you need to give God total control?

This morning I spent some time going through David's Psalms looking for a verse that expressed his want for truth and God's Word and found an excellent set of versus in Psalm 24:4-5. These should be our daily prayer just before we have our daily bread.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.

During my quiet time and prayer this morning I was impressed with the life of David and his close friend Jonathan. In 1 Samuel 23 David is on the run and facing constant danger and we begin to see him seeking God in prayer before taken some sort of action (1 Samuel 23:1-14). Immediately after this, we see his good friend Jonathan meeting him in the wilderness to encourage him in the Lord.

This chapter illustrates two great principles. 1. Men need to seek the Lord and His guidance. And 2. Men need brothers who will pray with them and encourage them in the Lord. I am so thankful for the men who routinely meet with me to pray and encourage me in the Lord.

When was the last time you met with a brother for prayer and encouragement in the Lord?