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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

Mercies From God Should Produce A Humble Heart
When we look back and see the mercies of God in our lives, it should humble us.   #daybydaylw   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   2 Samuel 4:9 “As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life out of every adversity…” This seems to be David’s favorite characteristic of God. He says this line later in his life to Bathsheba when it comes time to name a new king (1 Kings 1:29). David has just been presented to him by Rechab and Banaah what they consider a desperate situation. “You have had a long standing enemy, David. Saul and his household have hunted you like an animal. And today, we have taken it upon ourselves be used as the Lord’s tools to avenge your good name.” Abner thought he could bring about God’s promise on his own behalf. Rechab and Banaah thought they were the ones to bring into existence God’s promise on their own behalf. What they called good was really wicked and evil. But David saw the situation differently than Rechab and Banaah. And he swears by the living God who has been extraordinarily merciful to him that he, David, will not turn his back on God, turn his back on God’s word, in order to join in the plot and ploy of these men who raised their hand against the house of Saul unjustly. The Kingdom of God, led by David, would not be established by the means of injustice and murder. It would be established upon the foundation of God’s promise. Get what David is saying. David is not presuming upon the mercy of God. David is not saying, “Well, God has been merciful in the past, so I’m pretty sure he will be merciful again.” No! David is saying, “The Lord has been kind and gracious and merciful to me, that when I was in dire straits, He pulled me out. When I was being chased down, He delivered me. When I was wasting away in the wilderness, he was building me up and renewing my strength. When I was in misery, I was met with mercy!And none of it was because I deserved it! It was all because God made a promise and was going to keep that promise. So how could I turn away from Him? How could I take His promise into my own hands? Why would I trust anyone else, who by false means, is trying to bring the promise to reality. NO! I will trust LORD! I will not presume upon future mercy by my disobedience, but instead I will trust the LORD!” My friends, can you look back over your life and see sparing mercy? Can you see saving mercy? You must not look upon those mercies and gain a proud heart.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on Jun 20, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

The Anvil Of God’s Word
Setting ourselves against God’s Word ensures we will be crushed by it.   #daybydaylw   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   In this story, we see three people who are scared—Ish-bosheth, Rechab, and Banaah. And all three of them are scared as a result of refusing to trust in God’s word.   You have Ish-bosheth, who once Abner is gone, goes into a downward spiral of fear. But why does this happen? It happens because Ish-bosheth refused to believe God’s word that David would be the next king of Israel. Ish-bosheth knew God’s word to David. Abner had known this word and communicated it to Ish-bosheth, as I am sure Ish-bosheth already knew. But Ish-bosheth not only refused to believe God’s word, he actively positioned himself against God’s word, trying the create his own throne and dynasty.   Not only that, but Ish-bosheth put his hope and trust in man. All of his courage and resolve came only in so far as Abner was close by his side. Do you remember when Abner told him that he was going to switch sides and join Team David? What happened? Ish-bosheth was paralyzed with fear. And now that Abner is dead, he is gripped with more fear.   Ish-bosheth refused to heed God’s word, and actively set himself in resistance to God’s word and suffered for it.   Heed the warning here today—do not set yourself up against God’s word. God’s word is the anvil upon which your rebellion and refusal to trust it will be crushed.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on Jun 18, 2024
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Day by Day Hacks

Day By Day Hacks
Singing during times of quiet, private devotional can be a response to what we read in God’s Word.   #daybydaylw   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on Jun 17, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

The End Does Not Justify The Means
How we accomplish our goals is as important as the accomplishments themselves. #daybydaylw Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   Did you win the game? Did you make the grade? Do well on the test? Did you get the raise? Did you finish the job?   Most of life is focused on results, outcomes. There was a time towards the end of my academic life, that I stopped caring about hard work, effort output, and was only concerned about one thing—finishing the degree.   But we all should know that the end does not always justify the means. Winning a game by the means of cheating tarnishes the win. Getting the raise by means of sabotaging co-workers discredits your own work. Completing your homework by copying someone else’s negates the point.   It is not just the end that matters, but also the means.   How you get to a goal is just as important as the goal itself.   In the unfolding drama of 2 Samuel, which is about David ascending to the throne of Israel, uniting Israel into one kingdom, we have been watching different people employ different means in order to try and accomplish the goal and unite the kingdom. We have seen political prowess, pandering, polygamy, and murder. And underlying, or should we say superseding all of this is the sovereignty and providence of God, who takes even the sin of man and makes it serve His decreed purposes.   Over the next few days we will watch one more attempt by some to try and impress King David with their ability to bring fruition God’s promise of a Davidic Kingdom, but it will not end well for them.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on Jun 14, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

Tomato Soup, Super Glue, And Secret Purposes
No corrupt world leader or false teacher can disrupt the plans of God. #daybydaylw Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   Not too long ago, two oil activists entered the National Gallery in London, and splattered tomato soup all over Rembrandt’s painting, “Sunflowers.” They then superglued themselves to the wall. They wanted to make a statement. They wanted to ruin a masterpiece to gain attention to their own cause. Later that day, the National Gallery put out a statement informing the public that the painting was unharmed because, unbeknownst to the activists there was a thin layer of glass protecting the painting. Listen to me church, the world, corrupt leaders, wolves in sheep’s clothing will think they can stop and disrupt and dismantle the plans of God. They throw their tomato soup all over the masterpiece of the gospel, thinking they are destroying it. And yet, there is the protective glass of God’s Providence protecting His masterpiece. What makes the providence of God different than the national Gallery in London is that God is able to incorporate the tomato soup for His own hidden purposes, for His glory and our good.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on Jun 13, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

The Terror And Glory Of The Gospel
Jesus pronounced the penalty for sinners and then took it upon Himself.   #daybydaylw   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   No doubt you took note that Rechab and Banaah received the judgment of God. They were hanged. It was a curse upon their life. And we all have that curse over us. All of us have played the part of Rechab and Banaah. All of us have abused God’s word, misused it, trying to advance our own station in life, trying to use God’s word to justify sin, to bring about self-exaltation. All of us. And we all deserve the judgment of the KING. The terrifying reality of the gospel message is that the KING greater than David has appeared. Jesus Christ came into the world, lived a perfect life, establishing forever His kingdom, and will one day bring perfect justice to all those who have rebelled against His kingdom. But the glorifying reality of the gospel message is that King Jesus has done something David could not do. Whereas we are like Rechab and Banaah, in that we are deserving of judgment, King Jesus pronounced the sentence upon sinners, and then stepped in to receive it for all those who would see their need for mercy, and plead for it, and receive it by putting their trust in that Christ’s death atoned for their sin.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on Jun 21, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

A Security That Causes Sleep
God is transforming everything, even acts of wickedness, into elements of His ultimate plan. #daybydaylw Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   One of the difficulties of reading narratives is that we have to read the whole narrative to catch what God is doing, and that can be difficult to do in a 2 minute episode of Day by Day. But when we pull back, or when we finish this drama, we will all be amazed at how God used the sin of man, the scheming of man, to accomplish his great goal of providing us with a perfect King. This entire passage in 2 Samuel 3 should make us long for a king who acts with perfect righteousness, who sees the desires of the human heart and can protect his people from deceit and seduction of human scheming, who is able to snuff out the schemes of wickedness, who is completely honorable, who has no need to negotiate and use political power plays in order to consolidate power and authority. And that is what we get in Jesus. He is that King! And so as we look back, this one thing we must understand is that God is not up in heaven reacting to the sin of man and his schemes; He is taking these sour lemons and making lemonade. All of this is happening under the providence of God, which is a sweet security at night when you lay your head on the pillow.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on Jun 12, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

The Schemes Of Man Hurt The People Of God
Our sins do not only affect ourselves, but the people around us. #daybydaylw Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   A minor chord that is struck in 2 Samuel 3 is that the people of God get hurt when the schemes of man are preferred and executed over the plans of God. I say this because we have the listing of some names at the beginning of the chapter, and also an odd character about halfway through. We are given the names of David’s wives and his sons, and this serves as a bit of foreshadowing for what is to come. This won’t be the last time we read of Absalom and Adonijah. They will make a return to the story, and they grow up to be bitter, bitter men. We are also told Michal’s husband Paltiel, who came home one day to find that Ish-bosheth’s goons had come to remove Michal from her home and take her to David. Our text tells us that Paltiel followed Michal for a great distance, weeping as he went, at the thought of losing his wife. Remember, these were real people. These events really happened. And Paltiel is truly heartbroken. It does seem like he is losing the love of his life. She is being ripped from him, all for David to score some political points and favor with the people. Hear me clearly, the sins of man do not thwart the plans of God, but our scheming, living in our own wisdom and strength, chasing our own agendas, exalting ourselves, never happens in a vacuum. It always hurts other people. Men, you think your porn addiction that you think happens in secrecy isn’t affecting your marriage, you are dead wrong. Wives, you think your cutting remarks that you think are witty isn’t having an affect on your family, you are wrong. Our sin and scheming is like a pipe bomb filled with nails that leaves a devastating impact far and wide.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on Jun 11, 2024
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Day by Day Hacks

Day By Day Hacks
Worship music and hymns can be memorized for greater depth of spiritual pondering. #daybydaylw Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on Jun 10, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

Pride Does Not Relent
Pride does not rest or take a break, so it must be killed. #daybydaylw Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   In 2 Samuel 3: 6-11 we have a change of scenery, which indicates a scene change, a new topic, if you will. And we come across our main character of chapters 2-3, Abner, the commander of Saul’s, and now Ish-bosheth’s army. We learned in verse one that the house of Saul was growing weaker, but we read here in verse 6 that Abner, “was making himself strong in the house of Saul.” We already have seen how Abner was the puppet master over Ish-bosheth, but it appears that Abner is doing even more to increase his influence and authority and power in the house of Saul. So much so is Abner’s strength growing that a bold accusation is made against Abner by Ish-bosheth. What we don’t know is if the accusation is true, but it seems like, with the comment of Abner’s growing strength, that it probably is. And the accusation is that Abner has seduced one of Saul’s concubines to sleep with him, which is equivalent to Abner saying to Ish-bosheth, “I am now taking over the throne.” This was a power play on Abner’s part to force Ish-bosheth’s hand to either bow out altogether, or to give Abner a reason to revolt. Abner knew that his side was decreasing in strength and popularity; he also knew that David’s team was gaining strength and popularity, and Abner was not going to be a part of another losing battle. So Ish-bosheth confronts Abner, which gives Abner the reason he is looking for to throw his weight around even more by declaring that he will end Ish-bosheth by taking over to David’s side all of Israel. This was Abner’s strength, to seduce, and another part of his pride making its way to the surface of his life. Pride doesn’t rest. Pride does not take a break. It must be killed. The crosshairs of the gospel must be placed on it and pride must be mortified.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on Jun 07, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

Polygamy, Pride, And Comfort
Regardless of scandal or corruption, the church will march on. #daybydaylw Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   The first sin we run across in our text is the polygamy of David. It will not suit the Christian just to chalk this circumstance up to culture and say, “Well, that is just how they did things back then.” Culture is not the curator of holiness; God’s word is. And from the beginning of God’s word we see the beauty of the design of one man, one wife marriage, and also from pretty close to the beginning, we see the perversion of that design in creation and the damage it brings. What we have to remember is that what is written in scripture is not always a prescription for us to follow, but sometimes merely description. And that is, I believe, what we have in 2 Samuel 32-5. The author is describing to us how David’s kingdom, and popularity, spread. But it is not a prescription for us. And we will soon see that the sin of man does not stop, does not negate God’s plan. And that is the great reality we are to learn. Nothing stops God in what He wants to do. Not David’s infidelity, not Abner’s great pride in thinking that he was the one delivering the people over to David, and not Joab’s reckless ways. Beloved, that is great comfort for us today, as we see all kinds of politics, all kinds corruption, all kinds of immorality, all kinds of deceit and seduction, taking place within the global church. You can hardly open up a news browser without reading about some new legitimate scandal taking place in some church, or Christian organization. It would be easy for us think that Christianity is on its last leg, that it cannot get up off the mat. But let me assure you that nothing stops the plan of God. The church will go on. The church will be triumphant. Christ is reigning and will continue to reign.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on Jun 06, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

Prideful Opposition From Within
God works through the pride of men to work His will contrary to their goals. #daybydaylw Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   Consider this with me today as we think about the kingdom of David. The kingdom will face opposition, resistance. And we naturally suspect that the opposition will come from the outside. But many times, the opposition comes from within. It comes from prideful, truth-denying, glory seeking people. This is you and me. We are the truth-deniers! We are the ones who seek glory for ourselves! So where is our hope? God sovereignly works through man’s prideful intentions. The pride of Abner, the pride of Joab, the pride of Asahel does not keep God from bringing forth His promises. In fact, in His providence he uses the wickedness of sinful men to bring about His promises. This isn’t the first time. And it won’t be the last time. It will be through the opposition of God’s kingdom again, in Jerusalem, that Jesus Christ is nailed to a cross. And what the world meant for evil, God meant for our eternal good.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on Jun 05, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

Giftedness Can Be Gory
Everyone in God’s kingdom has been gifted with skills to serve Him. #daybydaylw Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   24 young men fall to the ground dead, and then a civil war begins. We are told in verse 2 Samuel 2:17 that Joab and his men defeat Abner and his men in the ensuing battle. And then we read of a particular instance between Asahel and Abner. Asahel is the brother of Joab, the nephew of David, the son of David’s sister Zeruiah. And what is it that we learn about Asahel—he is a fast as a wild gazelle. And we also learn that Asahel is diligent, that he doesn’t turn to the right or the left as he chases down none other than Abner, the commander of the forces. And as Asahel is chasing Abner, and as Abner is fleeing, they carry on a conversation, and I want you to notice with me that we are told two more times about this diligence, this obsession Asahel has in pursuing Abner. 2:21 “Abner called out, ‘Turn aside to your right hand or your left…but Asahel would not turn aside.” 2:22 ”Turn aside from following me…But he refused to turn aside.” Now, we might think this is a brave characteristic of Asahel. He is resolved! He doesn’t give up! He is going to finish what he starts! Well, as good as those characteristics can be, that is not what the writer wants to communicate. Remember, the position of the men of Judah was to be a defensive position, not one of aggression. David’s kingdom is to move to the other tribes by the announcement of good news and grace. And this looks nothing like grace. Notice also the other comments being made… Abner says in verse “seize one of the young men and take his spoil.” Here we have an indication of what Asahel is really after—he is after the prestige of being the one who captured the great Abner, commander of Ish-bosheth’s army! He is after fame! He is after glory! Even though he is in David’s army, there is no concern for the right representation of David’s kingdom. There is no concern for his fellow Israelite brothers. There is only one thing one his mind, and it is planting his foot in Abner’s dead chest and raising his arms in victory over him. He wouldn’t turn aside. And it ends with his own death, a death caused by his gift. He runs so fast that runs up on the blunt end of Abner’s spear. (Vss. 23). Verse 23 says that all who came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, stood still. I think it would be good for us to stand still and consider what is taking place. Pride seeks personal glory with personal gifting, not godliness.—Asahel Asahel was using a god-given skill, his speed, and he was using it to chase personal glory. Each of us within God’s kingdom have been blessed with a gift. Each of us as humans also have skill in some areas. And we can use those gifts and those skills in ways that bring God glory, or ourselves glory.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on Jun 04, 2024
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Day by Day Hacks

Day By Day Hacks
Worship and singing have a part to play in a person’s devotional time. #daybydaylw Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on Jun 03, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

Is There Any Leaven Of Pride?
Unchecked pride will lead us to seek status and power over others.   #daybydaylw   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~     Abner is the one making all the moves in 2 Samuel 2. Ish-bosheth is a puppet king, with Abner pulling the strings. And in similar fashion, Abner is the one pulling the strings in this opening scene. Abner leads his men from their home location, Mahanaim, to the pool of Gibeon. And what is important to know is that the distance they travel is approximately 50-55 miles as the crow flies, which is a blatant act of aggression against David’s men, and David’s reign as king of Judah. Here we have before us a man who opposes God’s king, and God’s kingdom. Here we have a man who brashly and defiantly comes as far as he can come southward, to the border of Judah and just glares over the border to the men of David. This is not so that Abner can present his men to David as fellow soldiers ready to fight in David’s army against the Philistines. This is an act of provocation on Abner’s part. He was getting nose to nose, as close as he could get and poking his finger in the proverbial chest of David’s forces. Not to be intimidated, you have Joab leading David’s men to meet Abner’s forces on the other side of the pool of Gibeon, to let them know that they will not be pushed around. Now take special note of this. Abner is the aggressor, the one showing force, and the mission of Joab is one of a defensive posture. Joab was drawing a line in the sand and saying, “We will defend what is ours.” The two armies are face to face, and since Abner is the aggressor, he makes a suggestion, “Let’s have a representative duel. My best 12 against your best 12.” Abner and Joab send twelve young men to represent each side. Someone yells, “Fight,” and they grapple against one another, stabbing each other relentlessly, until they all fell to the ground while the life went out of each of them. 24 men dead. And here is the question I want to be on your heart and in your mind as we travel this text: Is there any opposition, any resistance in your life, in your heart, towards the King, or the kingdom of God? Is there any pride that swells up in your that nudges you towards seeking or gaining power, status over someone else? Is there a leaven of pride hidden in your life that you know is there but you refuse to remove because the thought of being praised is more desirable to you than having to serve?
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on May 30, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

The Danger Of Pride
Pride seeks to uproot and destroy God and plant itself in God’s place. #daybydaylw Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!     ~~~     What is important to note, is to notice what comes right in the middle of these three stories about Abner, we have this quote from Abner himself: 2 Samuel 3:9-10 “God do so to Abner and more also, if I do not accomplish for David what the LORD has sworn to him, to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beersheba.” So Abner knows that the God of Israel has made a promise to David that David would be the next anointed king over all of Israel. And yet, in spite of the truth, and in the darkness of his own heart, Abner's pride leads him to seek power over the truth of God. This is Abner resisting the true king of Israel, and his kingdom. This is Abner opposing the true King of Israel and his kingdom. It is defiance. It is pride And this is the danger of pride—pride seeks to uproot and destroy God and plant itself in God’ place. Pride causes civil war. Pride draws in and destroys others for its own gain. Unfortunately, the story does not end with the 24 men falling dead like we saw yesterday. In fact, that is just the introduction; that is just the setting that explains what happens next. So you must come back next week to find out what happens in the rest of the story.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on May 30, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

Pride, Sandwiched With Humility
We should be on alert for displays of pride in our lives. #daybydaylw Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!     ~~~   In order for us to get a grasp on what is going on in 2 Samuel 2, we need to have an idea of the unfolding plot line that takes place over the next few chapters. We will note that chapters four and five have similar events as did the opening chapters of 2 Samuel. In both of these sections (1-2, 4-5), someone comes to David with remnants from the prevailing king of Israel, hoping to buy a position in David’s army and kingdom. In chapter 1, an Amalekite comes to David with Saul’s crown and armband, proving King Saul is dead, and hoping this will impress David. In chapter 4, two men execute Ish-bosheth, and bring to David Ish-bosheth’s head, (proving his death!) hoping this will impress David. In both cases, those bringing those “gifts" are executed for their treachery, David mourns, and then an anointing takes place. So in those circumstances, we are seeing David’s humility in that he is not willing to ascend the throne of Israel in a way that is compromising or underhanded, displaying he humility that is to be within the kingdom of God. Now sandwiched in between those events, we have three large sections dealing with a man named Abner, Saul’s former commander of the army. And in each of these 3 major scenes, we see Abner’s pride on display towards the kingdom of God. And we need to ask the question of ourselves, is pride on display in my life? In what way might pride be on display in my life? Why is pride on display? What is that I want so bad that I am willing exalt myself over others?
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on May 29, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

Pride, Politics, And The Lullabies Of Don Lemon
Pride seeps into everything if we do not keep a close watch on it. #daybydaylw Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   There is not anything much more relaxing than coming home from work, eating a nice supper, settling in to your favorite recliner, and watching Sean Hannity, Don Lemon, and Tucker Carlson soothe you to sleep with their political lullabies. It seems that we cannot escape the political these days. Politics seems to be more divisive than ever, and the two parties seems to be farther away from each other in terms of morality and worldview. Add to that, that we now live in echo chambers of social media filled with algorithms that feed us only what we want to hear or see. Getting any real, unbiased news is nearly impossible today. And I know that the last thing you probably want to come to church to hear about is politics. You want to hear what God has to say about Himself, and your life, your problems, and how you can honor him. If that is the case, then I have some good news for you this morning. Even though we must address some political scenarios within our text over the next few days, you will be happy to know that the political situation is simply a cover of the human situation. Politics is the sport at hand, but which sport being played in our text is not terribly important, because the underlying factor is the heart with which the sport is being played. And at the heart of our text today is the human factor of PRIDE. Pride is not a characteristic reserved for the political arena alone. Pride seeps in everywhere. It creeps into our homes and how they function; pride creeps into our workplaces and how we think of others; pride is perhaps the most consistent church attender. Pride sneaks in through our motivations, self-perceptions, and even our quest for good and justice.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on May 28, 2024
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Day by Day Hacks

Day By Day Hacks
Private devotional time can remind us to connect with God even in mundane activities.   #daybydaylw   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on May 27, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

A Kingdom That Has Opposition
The legitimacy of a ministry will not remove its opposition.   #daybydaylw   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   The last section that we are intended to see is a puppet king who is pushed to the throne by Abner. Abner is pulling the strings over Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth. Notice the verbs used in 2 Samuel 2:8 and 9—Abner took Ish-bosheth…brought him Mahanaim…made him king.” And here is what we are to see—The legitimacy of your ministry does not eliminate enemies. And as long as God’s kingdom marches along on this earth, there will be enemies. There will be a fight to be had. There will be kings to dethrone. It reminds me of something Jesus said—“In this world you will have trouble…” This Jesus, who made it his habit to spend early mornings in deep prayer, making sure He did all the Father asked of Him, this Jesus, who started a revolution with 12 blue collar guys, who was hated because he spoke truth to the liars and extended grace to the hopeless, THIS JESUS said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart because I have overcome the world.”
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on May 24, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

A King That Extends Grace
God’s kingdom is moved by extending grace.   #daybydaylw   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   Notice with me in 2 Samuel 2:5-7 how David interacts with the tribe of Jabesh-Gilead, this tribe who would be naturally hesitant, resistant to David as king. David pronounces blessing on them—“May you be blessed by the LORD…” And then extends to them divine grace—“Now may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you.” Steadfast love and faithfulness—That is an important, crucial phrase in the OT. We come across it for the first time in Exodus 34. This is where Moses asked to see the LORD’s glory. And God hid Moses in the cleft of a rock, and made all of His glory pass by him and then proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…” David was extending the grace of God to a tribe who sided with a rival king! David was calling on them to come under the safety and protection of His kingdom. This is how God’s kingdom moves—by extending grace. Does our church operate on the basis of truth and grace? Does your ministry, does your life operate on that basis?
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on May 23, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

Mustard Seeds And Three Measures Of Flour
Small starts in following God should not discourage us, and can lead to great things.   #daybydaylw   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   Look with me at 2 Samuel 2:10-11. We get a bit of a timeline. Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth reigned for two years over Israel. David reigned seven and a half years. And what we will learn later in 2 Samuel is that as soon as Ish-bosheth dies, David becomes king over all of Israel. So that means for five and half years, David was king over one tribe—Judah. Do you know what that is? That is patience. “Lord, am I not the one you anointed in a private ceremony 10 years ago, saying I would be the next king? Was I not anointed publicly in Judah? When then, LORD? Now seems like a great time!” And this is what I want us to see—David’s reign over God’s Kingdom starts small because David seeks God’s guidance and will, because David is obedient, because David is patient. In other words, the small start was not because David wasn’t brave enough or dynamic enough or risky enough. It’s not that David’s dreams and vision were too small, but rather, it was God’s design, even though David has the men that are described to be like an army of God (1 Chronicles 12:20-22) How are you with “small” starts? “Small” ministry? “Small” impact? What do you do, how do you respond when God’s work doesn’t start like you think it should? God lays a burden on your heart, a ministry, and you have these grand visions of what it could be. You assemble a team, you cast your vision, and then…it’s not the what you had hoped for. But isn’t this the pattern we see time and again in scripture? Jesus says in the gospels that the kingdom is like a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, and like a little leaven hidden in three measures of flour. Think about those descriptions—smallest of all seeds, hidden in three measures of flour. The emphasis is on the inconspicuous beginnings and subtle spread of the kingdom of God. By Jesus’ time, we are thousands of years into God’s kingdom, and yet Jesus is still comparing it a mustard seed. Do not begrudge small starts in ministry life. Do not disdain small, slow, steady, stable growth. Do not think that God has forsaken a ministry, or a church, because of smallness. God loves to work in the shadows, chiseling away, changing.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on May 22, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

Full, Fast, And Happy
Following God means full obedience, right away, done with a happy heart.   #daybydaylw   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   2 Samuel 2:3 “And David brought up his men who were with him, everyone in his household, and the lived in the towns of Hebron.” What is it we see David do in response to his prayer to God for direction, and then God answers with instruction and command? We see full obedience. The text tells us that David uproots his family, and uproots his fighting men with all of their family as well. David was leaving no trace of himself back in Ziklag. This was not an investigative trip, or an exploratory trip to see how things might shake out. No. God said Hebron was the place, and that is what David needed to hear in order to move with confidence. And move with confidence he did. Pack up the bags! Tie up the tents! All of it! We are moving. What a challenge for us when we know what GOd’s word commands us to do—to live in obedience. How would you define biblical obedience? The definition my wife and I gave our kids was, “Full obedience…Right Away…with a Happy Heart.”
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on May 21, 2024
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Day by Day Hacks

Day By Day Hacks
Bible study and prayer is important even for those in the depths of grief.   #daybydaylw   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on May 20, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

Small Starts, Big Promises
God always fulfills His promises, even if it is in ways we do not expect.   #daybydaylw   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   Take note of the first phrase in 2 Samuel 2:1, “After this, David inquired of the LORD.” After Saul has been mourned properly, after the proper amount of time, then and only then, does David begin to pray about next steps. It may seem to us a little strange that David would need to pray about this. After all, hasn’t he legitimately been anointed as the next king. What is there to pray about? Oh there’s plenty to pray about. And we see David’s humility come through in his seeking God’s counsel first, foremost, before acting. This has been the steady pattern in David’s life. We can look back to 1 Samuel, and forward throughout 2 Samuel, and count at least 9 times where David inquires of the LORD during an important time in his life. “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” Judah was a pretty safe place for David, after all, David is from Bethlehem of Judah. His people are there. His family. But in God’s response, God does not send David back to Bethlehem, but rather to Hebron. So Why Hebron? You see, Hebron, and David’s rule as king over God’s people, starts small. It starts in Hebron, and over just one tribe, Judah. That is the emphasis of the text. We see it four times in our passage, at the end of each main section: 2:4 “they anointed David king over the house of Israel” 2:7 “the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.” 2:8 “the house of Judah followed David…David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah.” Hebron may have been a small place, but it was also a place of gargantuan promise. Hebron reminds us that this promise includes a kingdom filled with as many people as there are grains of sand on the seashore. God tells Abraham that He will make Abraham’s offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, his offspring could be counted.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on May 17, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

A Reminder About Ministry
Ministry does not always go in the direction or as fast as we expect.   #daybydaylw   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   It’s been over 10 years since the prophet Samuel had shown up on David’s father’s front porch, asking to see Jesse’s kids. Over 10 years since David was brought as the runt of the bunch to Samuel, to which the LORD said to Samuel, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he,” meaning that David would be the next king of Israel, the people of God. And now, King Saul has died in battle. The only obstacle that had stood between David being on the throne of Israel, that obstacle has now been removed, after years of David being on the run. And we sit poised and ready to see David ascend the throne with all the glory he deserves. David’s preparation for being king was bit different than my preparation to pastor. We both spent about ten years preparing. Much of David’s preparation took place in a cave, but mine was done mostly in the dungeon of a library. And as much preparation as I received, as much as I learned about ministry in the academy, and also in real-life situations, there are some lessons that I need to be reminded of, as do you, if you hope to make it in ministry. Ministry for the LORD, oftentimes, does not start as we think it might, does not spread as far, wide, and fast as we would like, and encounters opposition, which is why humility is needed in God’s king. And this is what we will see as David ascends the throne of Israel.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on May 16, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

Grief Is Not Despair
Though Christians may still grieve loss, we do not have to despair in it.   #daybydaylw   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   In light of 2 Samuel 1, where David and his men learn of the death of Jonathan, King Saul, and many other fellow Israelites, we can imagine the disciples of Jesus feeling much like David, when they realized their Rabbi, their Leader, was slain by crucifixion. No doubt they mourned. But before the ink was dry on their song of lament, they received even more dramatic news, and that is that his grave was empty and that one of the ladies had seen the LORD alive, resurrected. So now, they were writing new songs! And Paul could write the famous words, “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope…Therefore encourage one another with these words.” Do we still grieve? Yes. The humble in Christ grieve. We grieve with our mind on the kingdom. We grieve thoughtfully. We grieve because of personal loss. But we do not grieve without confidence, without Hope, without assurance. Grief is different than despair. We do not grieve as those without Hope. Grief sees the hole that is left, but is confident in God that He will fill the void. Despair thinks that the hole cannot be filled.
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on May 15, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

Thoughtful Grief
Earthly realities should lead the church to rally behind God’s power and authority.   #daybydaylw   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   At the end of 2 Samuel 1 we have a song written by David. So David didn’t just sing a song, he wrote a song. Processing our grief important. And one of the ways David is known for processing and expressing emotion is through writing poetry and song. Take note of what David says about this song in verse 18—“he said it should be taught to the people of Judah;” He wrote it to remember and motivate the people of God; to motivate towards holiness, godliness; motivate to uphold the fame of God—tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon. These are Philistine locations. David does not want the news of Saul and Jonathan’s death to be known in Philistine areas. He doesn’t want the daughters of the Philistines to rejoice, to gloat, to proclaim that their god, Dagon, was more powerful than Israel’s God. But they would surely find out. How would they not? So David is communicating to His people that the gloating, the mocking, the exalting of false gods, should motivate God’s people to uphold God’s fame, and to make sure that nothing like this happens again, that God’s people themselves do not disregard, do not put themselves in a position to be under the discipline of God. This is to serve as motivation towards trust and holiness. And church, we are to be thinking these things as well! Will we let earthly realities like death wreck us, or rally us? We will see the holes that have been created as a result of living in a sinful world and just walk off in despair, or will we rise to the level of godliness and strength and trust in God to fill those vacancies in brotherly and sisterly love? Will we trust Him when he calls us to these areas?
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on May 14, 2024
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Day by Day Hacks

Day By Day Hacks
Studying the Bible can provide reminders that help us rein in difficult emotions.   #daybydaylw   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on May 13, 2024
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Day by Day - 2 Samuel

Grieving Over Leadership
It is important to recognize what events are worth grieving over.   #daybyday   Interested in learning more about becoming a devoted follower of Christ? Go to follow.lifeword.org!   ~~~   Should the widow grieve the loss of a husband? Should she be wrought with emotion? Should the grief be because it was a personal and devastating loss? Absolutely. Without a doubt. We would think it strange if that wasn’t the case. But we should also grieve at the hole in leadership that is left; at the spiritual vacuum that was created. Don’t forget that the relationship between husbands and wives, and children and parents, and friends are all pictures of kingdom-realities, that help make kingdom living glorious and clear and full of joy.   I think we are to understand something deeper in 2 Samuel 1 than just the fact that there had been a sword fight and Saul and Jonathan, others lost. This is not the first time war has been fought and there was loss of life. What David is lamenting is the fact that God’s anointed one had been killed, along with his successor, that God’s people were without a leader. David is grieving over the fact that the people of Israel were experiencing God’s severe discipline, because Saul refused the leadership of God. And as such, the army of Israel was defeated. “because they had fallen by the sword.” He is grieving because a hole has been left in leadership, and what are the people of God to do now? He is grieving that God will be mocked and seen as small among the Philistines. There is something here from which we need to learn. We need to learn what is worth grieving over. When you see the people of God afflicted with bad leadership, or no leadership, does it grieve you? When you see a lack of repentance in your own life, or in others’ lives, like we see in Saul’s life, does it grieve you? When you see churches in defeat, do we weep? When you see a loss of confidence in God, is your heart broken? When you see the people of God moving and living in weakness, and being routed by the enemy, does it tear at your soul? When they are more inclined to hide out and wait, instead of standing up to fight, does it bother you? Do we stop what we are doing and cry out to God on their behalf?
By: Clif Johnson
(Lifeword)
Aired on May 10, 2024
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