“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven…Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you” (Matthew 6:1, 4, NLT).
When we practice the spiritual disciplines of giving, praying, and fasting we are cultivating a quality of life that helps us develop an authentic relationship with God.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit…I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.” (John 15:1-2,5, HCSB).
These verses contain the last of seven “I am” declarations made by Jesus in John’s Gospel. “I am” is an allusion to God’s name by which God identified Himself to the Israelites: “God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14).
“Then David inquired of the Lord: ‘Should I go to war against the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?’ The Lord replied to David, ‘Go, for I will certainly hand the Philistines over to you.’ So David went to Baal-perazim and defeated them there and said, ‘Like a bursting flood, the Lord has burst out against my enemies before me.’ Therefore, he named that place the Lord Bursts Out. The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.” (2 Samuel 5:19-21, HCSB).
Have you ever had an emotional outburst caused by stress or anger or even joy? In the stories of King David recounted in 2 Samuel 5 and 6, we see this sort of behavior displayed by God.
“Come, let us all go to Gilgal to renew the kingdom. So they all went to Gilgal, and in a solemn ceremony before the Lord they made Saul king” (1 Samuel 11:14-15,NLT).
Saul was the first king of Israel. He was the son of a wealthy landowner and became king unexpectedly and rather reluctantly.