and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

How Did David Do It?

       I'm just trying to figure out how David became a man willing to stand up to a giant.  Some estimates put him at about age 22-25 when he stood up to Goliath, so that means he spent 12+ years looking after sheep for his father, a task left to the youngest of the family while the elder brothers took on the more manly jobs.  Somewhere in that time, David learned to trust the Lord in a way many of us never do.  He learned to rely on the Lord for help. 

       It seems to me the life of a shepherd is a secluded one.  I can’t imagine being gone from home for days without some kind of other people around.  There, in the pasture land, with no tvs, ipods or game systems to distract, David formed a relationship with the Almighty.  There, he honed the techniques of his trade using rod, staff, sling and stone.  He learned what worked and what didn’t.  He learned that God would protect him.  David speaks of his experiences to King Saul:

But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him.
Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God." And David said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."… 1Sm. 17:34-37 (all ESV)

       David had much experience with predators after the sheep.  He did whatever was necessary to save the sheep.  When a predator took a sheep, David beat or wounded it and saved the sheep.  If the animal went after David, he restrained it by its hair and killed it.  Ummm that’s a little too bold for me!  Why was he so courageous?  Read v. 45-47 and his bold proclamation to Goliath of God’s deliverance, "this day the LORD will deliver you into my hand" (v.46). 

       See, David wasn’t relying on his own strength.  He was trusting God to win the battle, for it was His battle.  "…the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hand." (v.47).  In effect, David wasn’t ‘seeing’ the 9 to 12 foot giant before him wearing the 150ish pound coat of mail, and carrying a spear with a 16ish pound spearhead.  He was ‘seeing’ Almighty God who would save His people from the ‘jaws’ of the enemy.

And that is why David was so bold as to run "…quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine." (v.48)

Oh Lord, help me trust you that way!

Friday, June 21, 2013

No Power

       The school year is coming to a close and all that is left is one exam for my son and two exams for my daughter.  Their exams will require little studying, even in my opinion (boy have things changed!)  Given that fact, I wasn't complaining when one was on the Xbox, one was on the phone ready to get on the computer while hubby was watching tv.  I was hiding in the quieter back room trying to read when an outcry was heard. 

       The power went out but I hadn't noticed because it was light enough outside to read by and my music was playing over passive speakers.  When I lifted my head to check, sure enough the clock numbers had disappeared.  Well, it's funny to watch people used to electronic input- whose handheld devices needed charging- try and manage without for several hours (my excuse for not posting!)  They seemed to act like life was unliveable or boring without power!

       I honestly think that's a big reason why teens today are not interested in church or Christianity in general... the lack of power.  That lack of power makes it boring and kind of unliveable as just about anything else is more exciting to them.  I'm not saying church should be more entertaining, but rather, the power of God should be so strongly displayed with His people that our kids should be excited to be part of His kingdom.

       Without (hydro) power our lives get very dark, especially at night.  Without God’s power our lives remain dark in this world we live in.  He is the Light (Jh. 8:12) and the Life (Jh. 14:6) of our lives.  If our lives are dark, miserable and defeated all the time, if we live not really enjoying our lives or Christ, Christianity and our brothers and sisters in the Lord, why would our kids want what we have?  If they never see the power of God in our lives, why wouldn’t they wonder if He is real?

For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. 1Cor. 4:20
   -It’s not just in what we say, but in His power that we should live.
He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned. And miraculous signs will follow to those believing these things: Mr. 16:16,17
And going out, they proclaimed everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the Word by miraculous signs following… Mr. 16:20
   -check out my posts on Mr. 16 here1, here2, here3.  Those believing in Jesus’ salvation will have signs follow, just as the disciples and others did.
(Paul and Barnabus) Therefore they stayed a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who bore witness to the word of His grace, giving miracles and wonders to be done by their hands. Ac. 14:3
   -Two men, neither there in Mr. 16 commission, both preached with signs proving their words.
But if the Spirit of the One who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you… Rom. 8:11
Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, Eph. 3:20
   -The same Spirit lives in us, the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus.  That’s powerful, and He works in us.

       What’s the answer to displaying God’s power in our lives more?  It’s getting too late for me to think about it further, only to know I am not satisfied to stay in this place, rather, I push forward to ALL God has for me to learn, in change, in action, and whatever it takes to be in His will. I choose to move forward in and with Him.  Now I just have to get my body to follow!  For me, having no power, or just a little power is not acceptable anymore; how about you?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Three Canes in a Row

       There I was minding my own business in the clinic (okay, really I was people watching) when a lady, 30ish, walked by with a cane in her right hand.  The next person after her was an elderly man who walked in with a cane in his right hand, while walking a few steps behind him was an older lady with a cane in the same hand.  Weird, right?  What are the chances of seeing the identical issue right in a row?  It has to be highly unlikely.

       I’d already been watching cute little, sad little, sick baby who sat so quietly I was concerned for her.  On my left, stuck in a wheel chair and barely able to speak was a beautiful woman who looked younger than me but was probably recovering from a stroke.  Older people barely able to walk, injuries, sicknesses, and other visually seen issues had stirred up the beginnings of anger in me, but the three canes finished it.  I wanted to stand up and scream- ‘No, it was NOT meant to be this way!’  Instead I had to soak up tears in a tissue.

       The same anger has been building in me for a while as I see all the hurting, whether physically or other, everywhere I turn.  Pain, depression, burdens, sorrow, bodies failing to work right, struggling to breathe, brokenness, anorexia, fear, loneliness, paralysis, MS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer and all the other works of the enemy.  I’m not angry at the people, but at the devil, the enemy of our souls who doesn’t come “except to steal and to kill and to destroy.(Jh. 10:10) {except- save only with the intent to}

    -He tries to steal our finances, the truth, our kids, our health, our blessings and our joy. 
    -He tries to kill our hopes, our dreams, our friendships, our bodies and our beliefs.
    -He tries to destroy our relationships, our unity, our health, our communities and our trust.

       The devil is real.  He is not a myth, not an imaginary being.  Jesus spoke to him as a real being.  At one point the devil was “O shining star, son of the morning!” who was most beautiful in God’s creation (Ez. 28:11-17 double ref.), but he decided he wanted to be God and rebelled (Is. 14:12-14 double ref.).  The Near Eastern way of saying someone suffered defeat, fell from power, or lost one’s position is “fall from Heaven” as Satan did (Lk. 10:18).  The devil has power, but God is all powerful and threw Satan down from Heaven.
       The Bible says about Jesus, “…through death He might destroy him who had the power of death (that is, the Devil), and deliver those who through fear of death (us) were all their lifetime subject to bondage.(Heb. 2:14,15)  Jesus came to undo the works of the devil (1Jh. 3:8)  Because of Jesus death and resurrection, we have hope beyond the grave, “O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?(1Cor. 15:55)

       No matter what mischief the devil wreaks on the earth or in our lives, we know he is defeated by the greater power of God.  And the future of this tormentor is known.  For 1000 years he will be bound in the Abyss by God (Rv. 10:1-3) and soon after his release from there, he will be thrown into the lake of fire forever and eternally (Rv. 20:10) where death follows soon after him (v.14).
NEVER to BOTHER us again!!!
   -no violence,wars, only peace (Jb. 3:17)
   -no humger or thirst (Rv. 7:16,17)
   -no pain
   -no crying
   -no sorrow
   -no death (Rv. 21:4)

Woohoo! Thank You Jesus!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Incredible Lines

something like this- WAY more pronounced!

       Today and tomorrow I'm going to post about a couple things I noticed while sitting in the clinic today (fever again).  I love to observe people and there are always lots in a medical center with one waiting room, 8+ doctors and a walk in clinic.  There were three beautiful babies though one who was quiet looked very sad, and two preschoolers, one of which never stopped running until mom picked her up.  Across from me was a late 50ish man whose skin was weather worn over time and like many of us, was trying to amuse the babies with smiles, the nearest one being sad baby.

       His whole face crinkled up into an amazing flow of 'smile lines' starting above his eyes but radiating down to below his mouth.  I've never actually seen that many crunched up lines before especially on someone his age, and from the side there was little indication of them when he wasn't smiling.  To me, the lines didn't make him look old, unappealing, ugly, or bad in anyway, rather, they made him much more interesting- like a chiselled sculpture the makes you wish you knew this person of character.  To me, that is beautiful, and real.

       Who says wrinkles aren't beautiful or acceptable anyway?  The world, of course.  So, why do we agree?  Are they so wise, better than us, with better beliefs and standards, morals and ethics?  Look what it's doing to the tv/ movie industry.  I can barely watch anything without being disgusted by faces (of actors I used to enjoy) that don't move normally due to botox, bodies that are abnormally shaped, and surgically altered faces.  Another thing that bugs me is the perfectly straight, pure white teeth that don't even fit in a period piece; they didn't have such perfect teeth in the past so at least change it for the film!

       It's all about looking beautiful by the world's standards, and perpetual youth is beautiful to the world.  To me, they don't even know what true beauty is!  And we are not supposed to be living like the world anyway!

beauty and character...   Real. Magnificent.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made: wonderful are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Ps. 139:14 RV
   -no one is excluded. ALL are wonderfully made!
For man looks on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looks on the heart. 1Sm. 16:7
   -God regards inward attitudes, morals and behaviours, not outward looks.
Do not let your adorning be external *but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 1Pt. 3:3,4
   -we should be far more concerned with our inside attitudes and behaviour instead of how we look, for our bodies will decay and die but inner beauty is everlasting.
for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1Tm. 4:8
   -though exercise is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way and is useful in this life and the next, whereas these bodies will not enter in to eternity.

Question: would you dare tell God someone He created looked ugly?

       Speaking to a couple ladies once, we were remarking how a particular teacher still looked terrific in her eighties, her face a glowing testimony to God’s grace and mercy (with no help from the knife or botox).  One lady said she noticed the closer a person got to God, the more beautiful they looked.  I verbally agreed, because I’ve seen that ‘glow’ on some faces, and at that moment I was staring at one- but I don’t think she even realized it!

*though this is about women in this context, let’s face it, today many men spend just as much time on their appearance, clothing, physique, their ‘godly’ look at church, how they look in what car, how awesome a dad they appear to be, etc.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Yummiest Tuna Ever

       Though I am not the biggest tuna fan in the world, I do tend to enjoy it occasionally.  Today, after only snacking here and there with rather bland foods for three days (so as not to cause further grief to my body) I made my first meal.  Protein appealed to me more than anything and we didn't have much to choose from, so I fixed the tuna up the way I like it- short on mayo, lots of cut up dill pickle.  Wow, did it taste good, so delicious- almost like I hadn't eaten in days... oh... er...  Anyway, I was so grateful to be able to enjoy tasty food again that I might have thanked God for every bite- it was just that yummy. 
       It reminds me of those movies where you see someone out in the desert without water.  Eventually they become dehydrated and so desperate for water (liquid) that when they can't walk, they crawl along the sand reaching out for that illusive water they need and croaking out 'water, water'.  Now, I've never felt that desperate for water before, but I know many people have.  When you want it, you've just got to have it, and you can't be satisfied with anything else.  A whole plate of food will not suffice. 

       For humans, water is a necessity far more than food.  You can last over 40 days without food as has been substantiated in scientific journals.  Yet, you cannot go more than 3 days without water, according to reports, although you do get some fluid from food if you are able to eat.  As to survival, the list of needs is as follows: water, cold, food.  So, protection from the cold is more important than food, but water remains the most important need to fill.

       It's funny how we recognize this for our physical bodies, but rarely pay attention to our spirits.  We make sure to drink our 8 cups a day or whatever meets our needs, but not so with meeting the needs of our spirits though they subsist on the triune God, His Word and His presence.  Yet, do we make sure to get out daily spiritual needs met?  Do we thirst to fill THOSE needs?  Do we have an insatiable craving for God and feel completely dry without Him as if we were dehydrated?

...As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When shall I come and appear before God. Ps. 42:1,2 ESV

      David knew this need and expressed it in His writing.  Do we express our thirst to God, or are we satisfied to live a dehydrated spiritual life, lacking in power, barely surviving, never experiencing the abundant life God wants us to have (Jh. 10:10)?  I don't want to live that way ever again.  This life has become far too exciting, for the more I drink in Him, the more alive I feel, even when sickness gets my body down!  That life is available to all for it comes in the form of the Son of man, Jesus Christ, who came to free us from sin and death by shedding His blood to save us.  When we believe on Him, repent, and make Him our Lord, His Spirit comes to dwell in us and we have living water and will thirst no more.

...Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. Jh. 4:13,14
...If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive... Jh. 7:37-39  (heart- spirit, soul, the inside of the person)

Question of the day:
                   if we are dry- dehydrated in our spiritual life, then, what is the reason?