1 Sam.15:22 – And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.

This word, obedience, is like a dirty word. There are probably curse words that are more acceptable, even in so called Christian circles. What does it mean to obey God’s word? Actually, it is more than following a certain type of behavior or following a religious dogma. True obedience is all about the heart. What do I mean? Repentance from sinful behavior is a great example. Its not good enough to stop using drugs or other sins of choice to be acceptable to the Lord. He is looking for more than that. He is after our heart. In conversion that is what happens. repentance is a change of heart where you delight in doing different things. Before you may have delighted in consuming alcohol or drugs, now you delight in worship and going to church. That is more than a change of behavior, that is a heart change. Here is Dane Ortlund describing Edwards and his view on obedience.

“What is obedience? Doing what we love to do, out of a heart alive to beauty. Sin is doing what we love to do out of an unregenerate heart; obedience is doing what we love to do out of a regenerate heart. Sin is living out of our natural impulse; obedience is living out of our new impulse, what Edwards calls the new sense of the heart…. Edwards’s great insight regarding true obedience is that the will only chooses what the heart loves. The two—heart and will—operate in tandem and cannot do otherwise. The trouble is that we reflexively think of obedience as doing what we don’t want to do. Ponder the word obedience for a moment. Don’t you immediately think of that as submitting to what another wants us to do? I can either obey God, we think, or I can do what I want to do.”

This is why repentance is a supernatural thing. It is the Lord that grants repentance, it is His influence by grace through faith that produces a heart change. This is the story of the ages; Paul being turned from a persecutor to an apostle, Mary being changed from a woman of the night to a worshipper, and people all over the world today drinking from this cup of amazing grace. The Lord delights in obedience because it is the evidence of His work of grace in us.

When God advances His larger plan through us!

Merry Monday by Parris

“Hannah prayed unto the Lord” I Sam. 1:10

I had mentioned last time I wrote that the Lord spoke to me while praying for my family that I was in fact praying over the city all these years. I tell you I was undone! He was in fact using my earnest prayers for the great city of New Orleans. I had a hard time connecting it with scripture until someone reminded me about the story of Hannah who was barren and then conceived and gave her son Samuel to the Lord who impacted the nation of Israel. Hannah prayed unto the Lord.

But listen to what Jack Hayford says,

“For Hannah, she gave birth to Samuel, who became one of the greatest prophets of the Bible. 

God uses the burden of Hannah’s heart to bring a surprisingly larger solution to a burden of His own heart.  Barrenness was not only Hannah’s condition, but Israel’s condition as well.  It was a season of spiritual need and with little prophetic activity, and God sought a voice to speak on His behalf to His people.  Hannah could not know that her intense intercession for a child was moving in concert with God-brining her a son, but also bringing forth the will and blessing of God for a whole nation.  As she entrusts the longings of her heart to God, He moves on her behalf, but also advances His larger plan through her at the same time.”

If we don’t watch out we get caught up with the have nots rather than the God that has and is working on our behalf that we can completely lose sight of God’s nature and who he is. As Hannah prayed God had it all under control, he was just looking for that mouthpiece that was willing to lift up her voice and live surrendered to God. Hannah lived grace, actually her name meant grace. The divine weaver of our lives always manages to take the bad, the disgraced, the dark in our world and weave in his beauty. What I love about Hannah was that her pain brought her to worship and that’s when our world changes. When we are confused worship, in pain worship, lonely worship, criticized worship! When we move in concert with God the world around us begins to change.

Then Hannah prayed and she just took her time to glorify God and his mighty power!

“There is no one holy like the Lord;

    there is no one besides you;

    there is no Rock like our God.

The Lord brings death and makes alive;

    he brings down to the grave and raises up.

 The Lord sends poverty and wealth;

    he humbles and he exalts.”

So when you cry out to God, just realize he is working on such a much larger scale than you could ever imagine!



The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7

Israel wanted to be like the other nations, that’s why they kept demanding that Samuel would give them a king. Sound familiar? One of the first signs of a cold heart in the people of God is that they want to be like the rest of the world. I remember what Dick Mills said to me when revival first broke out in our church. He said it was the same thing he felt as a child in the early days of the Pentecostal outpouring. He said it lasted for about thirty years. He also said that the Pentecostals got tired of being different from everybody else, that’s when they lost the glory of God. They wanted to be like the other churches and that’s exactly what they got. A form of godliness without the power of God. In the same way, the Israelites got Saul, a man who stood out above everyone else. Saul was a man of human strength and effort, not a man of the Spirit. Here is how Watchman Nee describes Saul.
“Saul was of striking stature. ‘From his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.’ No wonder Israel acclaimed him: they could all see his head. Yet how often does the head of man stand in the way of the will of God! It seems David understood this—David the man after God’s own heart, who time and again set human reason aside and acted instead in simple faith. Confronted with Goliath (whose head was even more prominent than Saul’s), he declined helmet and mail, and went out against him with but a sling. One well-aimed stone from this, lodged in the giant’s brow, brought him down. That day marked David out as Israel’s king.”
What Israel needed was David, a man after God’s own heart. David’s strength was his heart of worship. He was unashamed of worshipping, prophesying on his instruments, and dancing with all his might before the Lord. Those three things; worship, prophesy, and dancing before the Lord, are not too popular in today’s hip church world. Too many churches want to be acceptable (or relevant) to the culture of today. They may gain crowds of people but they will lose the one thing none of us can afford to lose; the power and presence of the Lord.


“Watermarks-When the Arrows are Beyond”

“And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him. And he said unto his lad, Run, find out now the arrows which I shoot. And as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. And when the lad was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad, and said, Is not the arrow beyond thee?”

1 Sam. 20:35-37

WATERMARKS are when our lives take on a suddenly that leaves a mark on us that changes us forever. When we allow the watermarks of God, our lives take on a song that forever keeps singing. These encounters can embitter or transform. The Bible is full of such watermarks, David ran into caves to hide, but in the those caves God met him. Moses had his burning bush, and Joseph his prison along with being ruler in Egypt. Enlargement usually has a price tag.

The day David saw those arrows shoot beyond the amour bearer, his life changed forever. It would by years before David would live as he once did. Listen to F.B. MEYER explain David’s thoughts when he saw those arrows go beyond.

“You have hoped against hope, you have tried to keep your position, you have done your duty, pleaded your cause, sought the intercession of your friends, prayed, wept agonized: but all in vain; the arrow’s plight proves that you must go whither you may. Behind you is the sunny morning, before you is the louring sky; behind you the blessed fellowship, wife, home, royal favor and popular adulation, before you an outcast’s life. The heart clings to the familiar and beloved. But the message of those arrows cannot be resisted. There is no alternative but to tear yourself away, take your life in your hand, and go forth.”

Sometimes our life takes a change and it’s how we embrace it that charts the next course of our lives. In Ps. 57:1 we pick up with David running from Saul, he finds a cave to hide in. “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpass”

Treasury of David says, “This is a song from the bowels of the earth, and, like Jonah’s prayer from the bottom of the sea, it has a taste of the place. The poet is in the shadow of the cave at first, but he comes to the cavern’s mouth at last, and sings in the sweet fresh air, with his eye on the heavens, watching joyously the clouds floating therein.” I pray you too when you see those “arrows go beyond”, are able to catch God’s wings carrying you through and see his WATERMARK.


“Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.”

1Sam. 17:45-47
I think giants come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. We face them all throughout our Christianity. Little ones, green ugly ones and then the big ones that really seem scary. (JABBA THE HUTT?) Thank God gives us “weapons for our warfare to the pulling down of strongholds”. One of my giants was getting over myself and all my failures. Then one day Jesus came and stepped on my boat and forced me out into the water. We can either perpetually live with our demons or confront them as David did. David spent years in the back country alone with God. He found the secret place of worship.

FB Meyer said, “Let us live alone with God. The weakest man who knows God is strong to do exploits. All the might of God awaits the disposal of our faith. As a child by touching a button may set in motions a mighty steamship, making glide like a swan into her native element, so a stripling who has learnt to reckon on God may bring the whole forces of Deity to bear on men and things on the world’s battlefield. This is the victory that overcomes the world, the flesh, and the devil-even our faith.”

He goes onto to say; “This is the unfailing secret. There is no short cut to the life of faith, which is the all-vital condition of a holy and victorious life. We must have periods of lonely meditation and fellowship with God. That our souls should have their mountains of fellowship, their valleys of quiet rest beneath the shadow of a great rock, their nights beneath the stars, when darkness has veiled the material and silence the stir of human life, and has opened the view of the infinite and eternal, is as indispensable as that our bodies should have food. Thus alone can the sense of God’s presence become the fixed possession of the soul, enabling it to say repeatedly with the psalmist, “Thou art near, O, God.”

David looked at the lion, the bear and this ugly giant the same. Go ahead and face that giant!


¶And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand. And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it.” I Sam.18:8
Every now and then I pick up this interesting book called the “A Tale of Three Kings”. It’s a quick read but very, very convicting. (Gene Edwards) There is a reoccurring theme in the book thats basically says everyone is a Saul, only God knows who is a David and He isn’t telling. The author even suggests Saul was put in David’s life to help David not to be a Saul. Saul gets overtaken with an evil spirit and starts throwing spears at David and even his own son Jonathan. I am quite certain many times I have thrown the spear even when there was no spears thrown at me. When redemption caught me by surprise at the young age of 16, it taught me to understand the work of God in my life. At the end of the day, He orchestrates everything in our lives. “There is also a possibility that some 20 years after your coronation, you will be the most incredibly skilled spear thrower in all the realm. And, most assuredly, by then…..Quite mad.” (Gene Edwards) Oh my what a quote!

“Any man who lets his own baser nature have full fling invites the devil. But be that as it may, what a striking picture is given of Saul, worn with passion and swept away by ungovernable impulses, ‘prophesying’ or ‘raving’ with wild gestures and uttering wilder sounds; and of David, young, calm, giving forth melodies on his harp and songs from his lips, that sought to soothe the paroxysms of fury. Envy, allowed to have its way, becomes murderous. Let us suppress its beginning. A tiger pup can be held in and its claws cut, but a full-grown tiger cannot.”

So how will the song be played out in your life my friend? Are the caves filled with your song of tears turned into a promise? Or do ghosts surround you taunting for revenge? I am not sure David’s life was ever easy for there were many pitfalls throughout his life. Expositor’s says this about David, “He was the object of unmerited hatred, the victim of atrocious plots, the helpless object of a despot’s mad and ungoverned fury, yet cherishing no trace of bitter feeling, dreaming of no violent project of relief, but going out and in with perfect loyalty, and straining every nerve to prove himself a laborious, faithful, and useful servant of the master who loathed him.” God has your back and He is a rewarder to those who diligently seek him, and well that’s all that really matters. #godhasthis!



And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the LORD be with you.
1 Sam.17:37

“I want to see a bear on this trip, I have never seen one in the Smokies”. That is what I told everyone at dinner the night before our picnic up at Mount Pisgah. We had just gotten our picnic underway when someone said, “Look! There’s a bear!”, I looked up in stunned silence as I saw a black bear run through the picnic area and into the woods. Wow, it looked like the Lord gave me the desire of my heart! We continued our lunch, of course now it was all “bear talk”. “Whatever you do, don’t run if a bear comes after you”, someone said, “they are fast and will quickly catch you”. After lunch, I picked up an apple and started walking by the bushes near our table and I saw the bear moving around in the brush, he was only about 40 feet away. I cried out, “Look, the bear is over here!” That is when my daughter Grace came running past me with the camera, “trying to get a good shot”. Of course the bear didn’t like all of the activity. He snorted, rared back his ears, dropped his head, and made a short charge toward us. What happened next, you guessed it, Grace took off running and there I was staring at the bear. So much for the “don’t run” speech. Thankfully all the bear was interested in was our lunch, he turned around and disappeared into the brush.
As I thought about the bear that evening, my thoughts turned to young David protecting his father’s sheep with a sling and some stones. (I forgot to tell you about the stones, I had a handful of rocks in case the bear got a little closer. Maybe rock throwing is just some kind of urban legend.) David faced lions and bears and a giant with stones, but David had more than stones when he saw the bears advancing on his sheep. In in his famous words to Saul he said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” David understood the protection of the Lord. You see, David was a shepherd. He cared for his sheep with his life. David had also met his heavenly Shepherd. He knew that the lions, bears, and yes, even giants had no chance against the Good Shepherd. He knew nothing, not even a bear, could pluck him out of his Shepherd’s hand. That is what I saw on Mount Pisgah, the Lord will give us the desires of our heart, at the same time He goes in to shepherd mode to save us from our urban legends.



13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.
So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.

1 Sam 16:13

“Are there any more sons?” Samuel asked. “There is David, he is out watching the sheep”.
“Go get him”, Samuel demanded. As soon as David returned to the house, Samuel knew that this was him, this was the next king of Israel. He took out his oil and began to poor it on David’s head, as he did, the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David. This was the beginning of a new life for David, he began to experience the anointing of the Holy Spirit in every part of hs life. David’s life could never be the same, from this day he became the man after God’s own heart.
As he cared for the sheep, he found supernatural strength fending off the lion and the bear, and when he faced Goliath, the giant was no match for the Lord’s anointed. When he was exiled, being chased by Saul, he was hidden away by the Lord, living in caves and in the wilderness for years, sustained and satisfied by God. He found himself lost in his music, writing supernatural songs that we still sing today. When it came time to bring the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem, he was dancing before the Lord with all his might. David found an intense hunger for God’s presence expressed in his song,

Psalm 63

1 O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
4 Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

David had become a man consumed with a passion for God. Where did this hunger begin? It began when Samuel anointed David and the Spirit of the Lord began to move upon him. How about you? Today, the Holy Spirit can fall on you. Maybe you are facing unusual challenges in your life. Whether it is financial, family related, health or emotional challenges, the Spirit of the Lord equips you for every challenge. He is being poured out in these last days upon all mankind. As you spend time with the Lord today, ask him to fill you with a heart like David. Don’t be surprised when you begin to dance and sing with joy in the presence of the Lord.