May 12

1 Samuel 10:6-7 (NIV) 6The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 7Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.

Knowing Saul's end, we tend to overlook his beginning. He was a humble man even though he was large in stature. Samuel told him of all the signs that would come to pass that day to confirm that it was the LORD who had chosen him to be king. When Saul met the prophets with their musical instruments as they were prophesying, the power of the Spirit of God came upon him and he prophesied. Samuel said that at this point he would be changed into a different person; verse nine says that God changed Saul's heart.

Once our heart has been changed, we have godly desires. We are open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Some people search for some special leading when God is leading them continually. It is true that we must still discern what is of the Spirit and what is of the old nature, but that is usually quite evident. If we get off track, we receive that check in our spirit that warns us something is amiss. So we proceed with each day in faith believing God is leading us by His Spirit.

Seeing that Saul's beginning is so much like our own, we also have a warning. In the devotions to come, we will see a turning aside from the known will of God. We will see the increase of pride and his sad end. Nevertheless, throughout this time, he was God's anointed. It is a warning for us to heed the checks from the Spirit and remain in obedience.

Consider: A great beginning does not insure a great end. Persevere!

May 12

Luke 14:31-33 (NIV) 31"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

To be a disciple of Jesus means that you will pay a great price. Jesus' first example of the price in the passage is family. Family members will challenge Jesus' place in your life. They will demand that they be first. Your love for them and your Savior will have you sharing the truth of His life with them. When they see your attachment to Him, they will feel their position in your life is threatened. By their choice, relationships will be changed.

Jesus' second example is of a builder. A building takes careful planning. The complete costs of material and labor must be calculated. If this is not done, the project will be half completed. Everyone who passes that way will see your short-sightedness. It is a monument to your failure to count the cost. Sometimes we see people follow Jesus for a time and then return to the world.

The third illustration is of a king going to war. If you are outnumbered, you should send a delegation to ask for terms of peace. Jesus' illustrations are about thinking ahead and preparing for what is inevitable. If you choose to follow Jesus as a disciple, you will face loss. You must forsake all things if you desire to follow. Anything you cling to will be a challenge to His lordship in your life.

You can be a believer and not a disciple. You can accept His work on the cross in your place but not go on to learn from Him. A disciple is a learner. To learn you must follow. To follow you must let go of all other things that would compete for first place in your heart. According to Matthew's gospel (28:19,20), Jesus asked us to go out into the world to make disciples, not just believers. Have you counted the cost?

Consider: Are you willing to let Jesus take the place He deserves in your life and begin learning of Him? He's worth it!