Archive | February 2016

Fight your Goliath

1 Samuel 17:47 – “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.”

Oh, the beloved story of David and Goliath. We love to tell this story of bravery and faith to those who are facing insurmountable trials and tribulations. But what about those of us not facing anything major but rather just our day to day trials?

The story is still applicable. 

But here is what I want to focus on today – why are you trusting God in these situations? 

David could see the fear in the eyes of those Israelites around him. They were scared of Goliath. They were scared that they would soon become slaves to the Philistines. They couldn’t muster the courage to face this 9 foot man who continually bashed God right to their face. They needed to rally behind God. They needed to remember that He doesn’t need a sword to win the battle. David had lived it. He had seen God’s hand at work in his life over and over again and he knew that anyone defying God was as good as dead. 

So facing Goliath was just another day as a shepherd in David’s eyes. Lion, bear, giant – no need to fret – God’s got this. 

But everyone else didn’t have it. They needed a reminder. 

What if the trials and tribulations that you are facing today are to encourage someone else? Now, I’m not saying that you don’t have something to learn as well but maybe in the bigger picture, someone needs to see you leaning on God and trusting Him today. You know that “the battle is the LORD’s” but someone else needs to see it. Someone else needs to learn that lesson. Someone else needs to be encouraged by seeing you walk through the valley straight to the other side. 

In our society, it’s a “it’s my world and you’re just living in it” kind of attitude. We try to block out the effects that we have on other people. But we can’t. We have to embrace the fact that our life, our choices, our actions effect other people.

And that’s ok. God has put us with people for a reason – and it is not our perogitive to decide how we are going to effect them.  We just need to keep doing what we know is good and true and right and let God deal with the rest of it. 

David knew what needed to be done. He wasn’t looking to make a name for himself. He was looking to do what was right. He knew the people needed to be reminded that God was in control. And he was ready to give that control back to its Owner. 

How about you? Are you ready to give up that control and let God do His thing? Are you ready to face your Goliath not for your own honor and glory but for His? Are you ready to let God show His power in and through your situations? 

Like everyone else 

 1 Samuel 12:20-22,24 – “And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people. Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.”

A lot of verses, I know – sorry. But I felt like they were needed. 

The people of Israel had been begging for a king. They wanted to be like everyone else. They wanted a ruler they could see and touch. God had been their king but to those around them, it was weird. And they didn’t want to be weird. They wanted to be like everyone else. 

Sound familiar? Aren’t we, even as adults, the same way from time to time? We want to have similar stuff as they people around us. We want to look like the person on the magazine or in the movies. We want to know the latest trend in whatever we are interested in so that we can pursue it. We are just like the children of Israel except thousands of years in the future. 

God gave them what they wanted. However, it wasn’t without warning. He gave them all the negatives of what they were asking and they still wanted what everyone had – a king. In this passage, Samuel has just pointed out to the children of Israel, again, that this request was a sin. And they were mournful of their decision. But Samuel reminded them that was is done, is done. Now, you have to put on your big boy pants, suck it up and do what God has told you to do – follow Him and worship and serve Him only. Of course, this is me paraphrasing big time! 

But nonetheless, when we mess up and God gives us what we ask for and we finally see the error of our ways…well, what else is left to do but deal with the consequences and change our choices in the future based on what we have learned today. That’s what God is telling them to do here. You can’t change the past but you can make better choices in the future. 

And like any caught child, the people are ready to follow God wholeheartedly. They are ready to follow God and king into the future. Unfortunately, some kings will lead the people astray. But there will be others to bring them back. God always provides a way back – sometimes we just have to look for it. 

So today, remember that you don’t have to be like everyone else. God has given you exactly what you need for this moment. But if you do get what you ask for and you find that it wasn’t exactly what you expected, learn your lesson and move on by following after what God was leading you to in the first place. Choose Him over what you think you want. It may be a hard choice but it is right path to follow. 

Cooking with my son

Deuteronomy 6:7 – “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

My son is 14. The time has come to start teaching him to cook. He wasn’t too thrilled at the prospect of cooking, but he is a good kid and did it any way. And guess what? I think he actually enjoyed it. He followed the recipe and made a few blunders, but all in all, he did a very good job and was very proud of himself. 

This whole experience caused me to remember that I need to be diligently teaching my children the principles of the Lord as well. They need to see me studying, praying, applying God’s principles and doing whatever else God has called me to do. They need to see. 

I need to be encouraging their walk with Him. They need to know, understand and appreciate that He is the only One that can be with them throughout everything in their life. 

Educating our children is vitally important. I have been reading in the Old Testament lately about one generation serving God and the next one has straying far from Him. And part of me doesn’t get it. I try very hard not to judge but rather to understand how that can happen. It is hard for me since I grew up in a home that loved the Lord, as did my parents. I can’t imagine my life without Him in it. 

But that is because my family was faithful. They taught me about God, about Jesus and His sacrifice. They taught me right from wrong based on the Word of God. But here is how it keeps on going – I chose to follow Him. 

I can teach my son all day long how to cook and clean and do laundry and any other task necessary for domestic survival, but until he decides he is going to do it, it means nothing. 

The same is true for the teachings of God. I can guide him and teach him and instruct him in the principles of the Lord, but until he takes them and applies them to his own life, they are just hanging out there in the air. 

But regardless of how things may or may not turn out, it is my responsibility to be diligently doing what I know God wants me to do. All I can do is teach and pray. And so, that’s what I do. 

A fourteen year old cooking breakfast for dinner is a big deal. But a fourteen year old living out the principles of God is an even bigger deal. 

Let me encourage you today to be an educator in someone’s life. You may or may not have children, but I can guarantee that there is someone in your life that needs educating. And God put you in their life to teach them about Him. 

The hammock swing

1 Thessalonians 5:21 – “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

Several weeks ago, we purchased a hammock swing. I love those things! We have been so busy that my husband just got around to putting it up this weekend. 

He got the hook and the epoxy and was set to hang it. As he was reading the instructions for the epoxy, he realized that there were no written instructions – only pictures. They say “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Well, not so much in this case. 

He didn’t realize that he needed to prime the epoxy by squirting some out to let it mix first. He went ahead and squirted it up in the hole and then wondered. He wondered if it would hold. He would sit and stare at the hook and think. He was fearful that one of us would sit in the swing and end up with a head injury from it falling to the ground. 

He had pulled on it, hung on it and it all seemed ok. However, he tried turning the hook. And it twisted right out of the hole. He had to start all over again. 

This time, he is confident that he completed the task correctly. I’m planning to use the swing today, if I have the opportunity. 

My point in all of this is sometimes we have to do extensive proving to determine if things are good. They may seem good at first. It may seem like things will be okay. I though the swing would be fine. Boy am I glad that my husband listens to that still small voice that warned him that something wasn’t right!

When we do find the good and the true and the right, we have to hold onto it for all we are worth. We have to guard its place in our heart fiercely. We have to choose to make sure that it has a rightful place in our day to day living. We have to hold steadfast to it. 

The best place to find all that is good and true and right is in the Bible. It’s all there. It’s ready to guide, comfort and provide all that we need each and every day. But like I told my Sunday school class, it won’t do you a lick of good if you don’t use it. 

Open it. Use it. Remember it. Apply it. Cherish it. 

The Little Things

Psalm 5:11 – “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.”

In my line of work, we celebrate the little things. We celebrate small steps that were diligently sought after and tirelessly worked toward. We tell them to everyone. We give rewards. We give accolades. We do it up big. Because by rejoicing in the small things, it gives us hope toward our bigger goal. 

Why should this train of thought be any different for my every day life? Why do I neglect to celebrate a lost 1/2 of a pound? Why do I not celebrate being able to turn on the dishwasher and enjoy some extra time with my family? Why do I not celebrate the extra cash left over at the end of the week? 

I don’t celebrate those things because sometimes I consider them too trivial to really matter. But are they? Are they really trivial? Or do they point me to a greater hope? Do they not show me God’s blessings in my life? Do they not show me that God has graciously provided all that I need – under budget? Doesn’t it show me that my family is important and needs my time? Doesn’t that fading half a pound show me that it can be done?

It is really all about perspective. I see that more and more every day. If I choose to see the small things and perceive them as blessings, my day takes on a whole new meaning. I find myself celebrating more and more. And with the added celebration comes more and more praise because I am choosing to see His hand at work in my life. 

So let me encourage you today to celebrate. Celebrate the little things. Choose to see those tiny little details that make life amazing. Choose to give praise and glory and honor to the One who has brought them into your life and to your attention. 

Jesus, my friend

Proverbs 18:24 – “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 17:17a – “A friend loveth at all times…”

We all have friends. We have friends that we can talk to when things are tough. We have friends to laugh with us when life is crazy. And we have friends who will cry with us when life is overwhelming.

Yesterday, I was listening to “Jesus, Friend of Sinners”. Do you remember that song? It seemed like it had been ages since I had heard that one. And it made me stop and think.

We have been studying about God and the Trinity in Sunday school class this unit. One of the things that the writer is attempting to get the students to appreciate is the holiness of Jesus, how He is righteous and worthy of our praise.

How can someone like that be friends with someone like me? I’m the one that takes one step forward and two steps back. I’m the one that is grateful that my thoughts are not projected up onto a video screen. I’m the one that seems to go around with my foot in my mouth more often than not.

Why would Jesus want to be friends with the likes of me?

Because I have given Him my life.

John 15: 14-17 – “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have call you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in  my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another.”

Jesus is speaking to His friends here, the disciples. However, this promise of friendship extends to us. He wants us to love one another. He wants us to bear fruit, lasting fruit. He wants to be our friend. He has preserved His Word throughout all these generations, all these battles and dark times, so that we would have the opportunity and the privilege to be His friend.

So today, won’t you let Him be your friend? Won’t you let Him laugh with you, cry with you, comfort you and give you advice? And if you choose to let Him be your friend, shouldn’t you be a friend back and listen and be comforted and allow Him the opportunity to share in your joy?

Friendship is a two-way street. You have to be one to have one. Jesus doesn’t need us to be His friend, but we definitely need Him to be ours.

Fuzzy mornings

Ephesians 4:23 – “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind..”

Do you ever have one of those mornings where your coffee just isn’t doing it’s job? The cobwebs are still there and all you can think about is how in the world you are going to get anything done today?

Well, that seems to be me this morning. My kids have the day off from school and I still have to go to work. Life isn’t fair sometimes. It’s one of those days that I would just prefer to stay in bed. But, that’s not how things are to go today.

I need to be “renewed in the spirit of (my) mind”. Now then, how is that supposed to happen? Coffee isn’t doing it. I’ve read my Bible this morning. I understood it and comprehended what I read but still feel fuzzy.

What is it going to take?

Submission. I need to submit my day to my Holy God and Savior. I’m holding onto it for dear life. For some reason, I’m having trouble letting go of my troubles this morning. Perhaps it’s because the devil knows that by letting go, I’ll be much more successful for the cause of Christ. Maybe it’s my sin nature just being it’s mean, nasty self.

Whatever the reason, I think that in order to think and function clearly, I’m going to have to let go of the fuzziness. I’m going to have to choose to lay my troubles at the foot of the cross and walk away – don’t pick them back up again. That’s my problem, I like to gather my belongings before leaving the cross. I don’t want to leave a mess. But you see, the cross is all about collecting my mess and turning it into something beautiful. However, Christ can’t work if I don’t leave my mess, my fuzziness.

So, if you find yourself in the same boat today, won’t you join me? Lay it all down – the troubles, the sadness, the fuzziness or anything that is keeping you from being with Him – and let Him do His thing. Let Him make something amazing out of your mess.