devos from the hill

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A Tale of Three Kings – Chapter 12

The Mars Hill staff is in a series of devotionals drawn from the book, A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. We share highlights from the book each week, but we invite you to get a copy and read along with us. The drama is a multi-act play telling the stories of three kings. It is a portrait of submission and authority within the Kingdom of God; offering hope and healing to the spiritually wounded.

Chapter Twelve

“He (David) ran – through soggy fields and down slimy riverbeds. Sometimes the dogs came close; sometimes they even found him. But swift feet, rivers, and watery pits hid him. He took his food from the fields, dug roots from the roadside, slept in trees, hid in ditches, crawled through briars and mud.”

The author of our book once again uses poetic license to spark our imagination so that we might gain a greater understanding and appreciation for David’s experiences in running from King Saul. Often when we read the accounts of the ancient scriptures, we check off the sequence of events without giving adequate thought to the physical actions that played out or the amount of time it took.

In A Tale of Three Kings, Gene Edwards is helping us relate to David by painting a plausible picture of the kinds of details we would be subject to if we were on the lam with David. There are also a few details the author didn’t include which may give you even greater sympathy for this young anointed one.

First of all, do you know how long David had to hideout from the wrath of Saul? Try eight years! That is a long time to be hunted….a long time to be looking over your shoulder….wondering who, if anyone, you could trust.

As a result, David was constantly on the move; often to foreign places. One of those cities where he sought shelter and rest was Gath. Our book says, “Here, too, he was feared, hated, lied about, and plotted against.” Why would this be? Does it surprise you to know that Gath was a Philistine city and the hometown of Goliath, the very imposing man that David had killed in battle some years before!

King Saul’s relentless pursuit of David caused him to seek refuge even among his enemies. These were David’s darkest hours. David was surely a beaten and battered man. But, whenever he came to the end of himself and had nowhere else to turn, he turned to his God, who had proved Himself trustworthy to David, time after time.

Being beaten and battered by life is something that is common to us all. For some, these experiences yield brokenness resulting in the pursuit of God’s will and God’s way. For others, the tests and trials of life produce just the opposite; a rebellion against God, and a rejection of His way.

Consider the trials that you have gone through. Was your response to seek God’s help and follow His lead? Or, did you look for solutions and escapes routes of your own?

Consider these words written by David while in pursuit from Saul:

O taste and see that the Lord is good:
blessed is the man that trusts in Him. – Psalm 34: 8 (David)

The Lord is near the brokenhearted;
he delivers those who are discouraged. – Psalm 34:18 (David)

The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned. – Psalm 34:22 (David)

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A Tale of Three Kings – Chapter 11

The Mars Hill staff is in a series of devotionals drawn from the book, A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. We share highlights from the book each week, but we invite you to get a copy and read along with us. The drama is a multi-act play telling the stories of three kings. It is a portrait of submission and authority within the Kingdom of God; offering hope and healing to the spiritually wounded.

Chapter Eleven

“Caves are not the ideal place for morale building. There is a certain sameness to them all, no matter how many you have lived in. Dark. Wet. Cold. Stale. A cave becomes even worse when you are its sole inhabitant…and in the distance, you can hear the dogs baying.”

When David had to flee the presence of King Saul, there were not too many places for him to take refuge. Imagine hiding out in a cold, dark cave – all alone, knowing that you were being hunted by the King and his army. Add to the emotional conflict of the situation, that David had done nothing wrong; King Saul was simply jealous of David’s relationship with God and threatened by the knowledge that David would one day replace him as King.

David had gone from shepherd to soldier to King’s companion to cave-dwelling fugitive. God was allowing everything to be crushed out of David – little by little.

So, what did this crushing circumstance produce in David? How did he respond? Continue reading

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To Walk With God

Contemplating the Way in Which One Walks with God… One Step at a Time
A Mars Hill Staff Devotional by Ray Stedman and Fred Carpenter

Read the Scripture: Genesis 5:1-27

And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters… Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away (Genesis 5:22, 24).

This account says twice that, before he was taken up, Enoch walked with God. I love the story of the little girl who was telling her mother the story of Enoch. She said, Enoch used to take long walks with God. One day he walked so far God said, ‘It’s too far to go back; come on home with me.’ That is what happened to Enoch.

What does it mean to walk with God? Here is a man who, in the midst of a brilliant but godless generation, walked with God. What does it mean? Enoch did not literally walk with God; this is unquestionably a figurative expression, but a figurative walk involves the same thing today as it did then. First, it means he went in the same direction God went. He was moving the way God was going. God is forever moving in human history. He is moving now to accomplish certain things in human life, and He has been doing so for centuries. The person who walks with God is the person who knows which way God is going and goes the same way. Now, what is that? Perhaps we cannot indicate it positively, but we certainly can negatively: God moves always in unswerving hostility toward sin. He is opposed to that which destroys and wrecks human life. No matter how good it looks, no matter how attractive it seems, God is against it. And the person who walks with God is the person who walks in unswerving hostility toward sin in his or her own life and refuses to make up with it or permit it to rule or to reign. That is the first thing in a walk with God. Continue reading

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Broken but Redeemed

God has blessed Mars Hill with an incredible team of men and women who love Jesus – the risen, reigning, and returning King. Together, we passionately pursue Him as we work to see the Great Commission fulfilled. Together, we study the Scriptures. We embrace and celebrate the mystery of faith and the magnificence of our AWESOME God. And we long for our Savior’s return, when we will know fully as we are fully known.

The Holy Spirit has breathed unique wisdom, discernment and gifts for service into each member of our staff. That said, we are delighted to commence a new series of devotionals, in which each member of our staff will be sharing insights from their inimitable journey with our Father.

We hope that God’s redemptive work in our lives will resonate with what He’s doing in yours.

Today’s Devotional is from team member, Randy Templeton.
Randy is a Marketing Executive who is currently doing some
volunteer research and consulting on our internet ministry.

It was the week before Christmas and I was over visiting with several of my life-long single friends, including a new person I had never met, my future wife.  Sandy had with her a 6-month old baby boy, my future son, Michael.  For some reason, I was drawn to him, especially odd for a single guy, who was the baby of his family, and someone who rarely held a baby in his life. Michael as a baby had a great gift for crying, so I held him for awhile and then a while longer and eventually until he fell asleep. Sandy, I know was sure by now I was unusual.Randy1

I knew of Sandy and her story from my friends, but this was my first encounter.  It had only been a little more than a year since she lost her first husband and soul mate Mike in a tragic car accident.  Not knowing then, she was only weeks pregnant with Michael. So I met her a few more times in the following months and then asked her if she would go on a date. Not my best judgment call.  I now moved from “unusual single guy” to something three steps below.  Sandy and I did not talk or see each other for the next five and a half years.

It’s now summer 2001, one of our mutual friends Lori is leaving the country for mission work in Asia. Nancy, the host of the Christmas party where I first met Sandy, and I have put together a going away week in Estes Park, Colorado.  Unknown to me Sandy and Michael are headed back to Houston where Sandy has taken a new job and they have been added to the short list of Estes Park attendees.

Michael is nRandy2ow six years old and as history goes he does not like new people and has a notorious reputation for growling at them.  After two days, Michael and I were best friends. He who likes no one likes the unusual single guy. Once everyone got back to Houston I asked Sandy if I could spend time with Michael, closely supervised by spend time with Michael, closely supervised by mom of course.  Motives are always mixed in my human experience; I really liked Michael and had come to the conclusion at that point in my life I would never have a son and enjoyed being a father figure, but I also still had a thing for Sandy as well.

I hung out for the next couple of months, Michael and I played… Sandy and I talked. Michael and I bonded instantly, Sandy took a little longer. Michael looked like my son, he was an introvert who thought and had feelings like my son would have. Interestingly enough, Michael’s birthday is 6-20-95, mine is 6-02-59.

As school started that year Michael quickly became best friends (as they are to this day) with one of his classmates Trey. As weeks passed we met Trey’s parents and not long into our life stories Trey’s mother shared that she had heard through a friend of a woman in California who had found out she was pregnant just weeks after losing her husband in a tragic car accident. Terry was also pregnant at that time with Trey, and she was deeply moved by the circumstances and continually prayed for the unknown mother and child a world away. It was just another affirmation of God’s work in Sandy and Michael’s life.

Sandy and I went to lunch together once, had dinner once, and then we were engaged.  I will forever deny that I proposed to her at McDonalds, she might argue differently, but if so she will have to admit that she accepted the proposal of marriage to a guy who did.  We set the wedding for three weeks away, she was to find a dress and show up, I took care of the reRandy3st, which after two days I outsourced to a good friend who was starting an event planning business. It was a perfect wedding, except for the pictures. Never hire a photographer who is available on two week’s notice.

Then we had to tell Michael the news, not really knowing what his real reaction would be. He had real issues with the kissing thing.  It was after church one day when we were going to let Michael know. We were driving to lunch and asked Michael what he learned at church that day, (which at age six most every day would be “I don’t remember”).  This day he remembered the Old Testament story of Ruth who had lost her husband and how a distant cousin Boaz offered to marry her and redeem her family.  Our seemingly difficult task was done.

Sandy later in the week asked Michael what he was going to call me and he said what every son does, “Dad”, but not until after the wedding.  He stuck by his principle and called be Mr. Templeton for the next three weeks.  It was a story we could never have imagined, that has progressed to see the further addition of sons Blake and Carter to our and Michael’s life. Continue reading