Month: April 2021

David

It’s very possible to be anointed by God and yet unknown by men.  After David took the head off of Goliath’s shoulders with his own sword, King Saul was curious as to who David was.

1 Samuel 17:55-56  “When Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son [is] this youth?” And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.” 56 So the king said, “Inquire whose son this young man [is.]”

From reading I Samuel 16, it appears that King Saul must have known David to some degree since he had been summoned to play the harp to sooth Saul when he was distressed.  Even prior to David going down into the valley to take on Goliath, David and Saul had a serious conversation.  But it is possible to know someone, but really not know them at all.  The anointed of God was among Israel, yet not even the king seemed to know who David was.  Likewise, there are many men and women who have been anointed by God through salvation and the filling of the Holy Spirit, who are unknown to most people.  The Pharisees claimed to know Jesus, but they didn’t really know Him.  They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?  How is it then He says, “I have come down from heaven?”  John 6:42

David was anointed by God, but not so he could be known, but that he could deliver Israel from Goliath and be seated on the throne of Israel.  David was Saul’s replacement and Saul didn’t know it.  Think about how desperate King Saul and Israel was in that battle.  King Saul would allow someone who was unknown to go against Goliath.  David was the only volunteer among Israel’s army and he was unknown.  As anointed children of God, we should not concern ourselves with being known to men.  Even John the Baptist identified himself as “a voice crying out in the wilderness.”  Our concern should be to faithfully trust and obey in doing the will of the Father.

Jesus was known not because of His name or by who His earthly father and mother were, He was known by His anointing.  He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, made the lame to walk again, and raised the dead back to life.  He was identified by His anointing.  David walked in his anointing that caused him to trust in God and to boldly stand against Goliath.  As a child of God, you have an anointing on your life.  Walk in it!

Goliath

David went from running errands for his earthly father to fighting in an epic battle against Goliath and the Philistines for his Heavenly Father on the same day.  He didn’t go to the Valley of Elah for a fight, he went there to deliver food to his brothers and to see how they were doing.  For 40 days Goliath came to the battle field between the two armies, challenging one of Israel’s men to a “winner takes all” kind of match to the death.  Of the thousands lined up in Israel’s army, not one soldier dared fight Goliath, but the day David showed up, all of Israel got the victory.  How did this shepherd boy end up being the Savior?

  1.  David arrived arrived at the perfect time.  He rose early to take the supplies for his brothers and when he arrived, armies were lining up for battle. 1 Samuel 17:20  “So David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, and took [the things] and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the camp as the army was going out to the fight and shouting for the battle.”  When God intends to use you, you will always arrive at the perfect time.
  2. David heard some fighting words from Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:23 “Then as he talked with them, there was the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, coming up from the armies of the Philistines; and he spoke according to the same words. So David heard [them.].”
  3. David saw what he needed to see that caused him to fight against Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:24 “And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid.”

In life you will come to similar moments just like this where you have to do something that will change your life and the life of others.  David wasn’t looking for a fight, and neither should we, but there are fights that will come.  And there are foes we are no match for that will come against us and stop us in our tracks and paralyze us with fear.  When that happens, this epic Old Testament battle with David and Goliath teaches us what to do.  Line up for battle and stand in formation like Israel’s army, and then wait in faith believing Someone will come and fight your battles for you.  His name is Jesus!

Wives

The modern woman may not care too much for the holy scriptures of God, especially that scripture that speaks of being in subjection to your own husbands.  Many modern women consider the word submissive and subjection to being antiquated and outdated and a put-down to women.  And those that view that humbling attitude toward their own husbands do so only because they don’t know the deeper reason for this command or they deem it beneath them to come into such a humble position.  Every wife should know that Christ was never against women, nor was He geared towards keeping women suppressed.  Let’s read again what Peter would say to the wives:

“Wives, likewise, [be] submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct [accompanied] by fear.“ I Peter 3:1-2

The apostle Paul practically said the same thing to those at the church at Ephesus and Colossae:

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.“ Ephesians 5:22-23

Being submissive to your own husband doesn’t mean a wife doesn’t have leadership and great ideas and visions to offer.  It doesn’t mean to be an inactive partner in the marriage.  The word “submission” was a Greek military term that had to do with placing military troops in an order under the commanding officer.  Used in non-military life, the word would mean to have an attitude of agreement, cooperating, and carrying a burden. Let me say here also, not every wife struggles with the word submission or the attitude or actions that follow it.  The reason some women don’t struggle with it is because they are married to godly men who adore them and care for their needs and have proven themselves to do everything in their wife’s and family’s best interest.  I have told men this—that their wife would follow them to the other side of the world, if they would only treat them as Jesus would.

When a wife knows that her submission to her husband is really a submission “as to the Lord,” then her resistance to it is greatly reduced.  When a wife knows that her submission is attractive and a way to win a non-believing husband to the Lord, then embracing that attitude is more likely.  When a wife knows that she still has a significant voice and input into the marriage even while being submissive, then being submissive becomes easier.  When a wife lives with a husband that lovingly communicates with her rather than makes demands of her, she gladly takes up her powerful role as being a submissive wife.  God is glorified when the wife loves her husband so much to live in subjection to him.

Husbands…

Husbands, God takes how you treat your wife as a critically important matter. It’s like God takes it personal.  According to the apostle Peter, how a husband treats his wife determines how God treats his prayers. Here is exactly what Peter said,

If you are the kind of husband that belittles and talks down to your wife, you should know that God takes notice. If you talk to your wife like she is your servant and you try to dominate her life, God takes notice.  If you cuss your wife or treat her like she is an ignorant child, God takes notice. If you beat your wife or threaten your wife in any way, God takes notice. No wife should have to walk around on eggshells because she is afraid to say or do the wrong thing because of a husband’s reactions.  Both your actions and attitude toward your wife are always being examined by God.
The word “hinder” means to cut off or to cut down and it carries the idea that if a husband mistreats or is constantly cutting down his wife, then God is going to cut down the husband’s prayers and petitions to God.  God deeply cares about the wife who is the weaker vessel, which speaks of the woman’s relative physical weakness in comparison to men.  Men are not always stronger spiritually but they most often are physically.  Women are also more emotional than men.  So husbands live with your wife giving her much grace, give her honor, and treat her with a tenderness that gives evidence in your own prayer life.   Husband, love your wife as Christ loved the church and sacrificed himself for it.  If you want your prayers to get through to God and for God to hear and graciously respond, think about how you treat your wife.

Dilapidated Disciples

“I went by the field of the lazy [man], And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; 31 And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; Its surface was covered with nettles; Its stone wall was broken down. 32 When I saw [it,] I considered [it] well; I looked on [it and] received instruction: 33 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest; 34 So shall your poverty come [like] a prowler, And your need like an armed man.”  Proverbs 24:30-34

The description of the field in this Proverbs described the condition of the man who owned it.  What happened?  There’s probably a combination of things that caused the owner of the field to stop tending to the vineyard and maintaining the stone walls of protection.  I’m certain, however, that this dilapidated condition didn’t happen overnight, and I’m also certain that the vineyard and field were not always like that.  Maintaining your spiritual life and walk with God is so much more critical than keeping up with your field.  There are many who live in beautiful homes on the outside, but their lives and spiritual life is dilapidated, overgrown, and ugly.

There is a lot of upkeep and maintenance to your spiritual life. It should be like a well-kept vineyard that produces an abundance of fruit, but there are weeds and thorns that must be removed.  You cannot allow the walls of protection around your spiritual life to crumble and fall over.  You have to know that keeping up with your own spiritual life so that it produces fruit is your responsibility.

I know the things that are of great value to me are tended to constantly and what has little value to me is not.  I spent some time recently one afternoon trimming back some crepe myrtles in my backyard.  It really wasn’t what I wanted to do, and it wasn’t necessarily any fun, but it was necessary if I wanted my backyard to be a pleasant place to be.  If you live in a home owners association, you are required to maintain some standard for your house and yard, but your spiritual life does not have this kind of strict oversight.  No one can do the upkeep in your spiritual life but you, so be encouraged today to do those things necessary to maintain the kind of fruit-producing life that pleases God.

God is Helping You!

It may not feel like or seem like, but God is helping you.  Recently I was loading some construction supplies at a yard north of Tyler, and to load the material, I had to first unload a large and expensive piece of walnut from the back of my one ton.  After getting the materials loaded and strapped onto the bed of my truck, I took off to my company’s lumber yard about 30 miles away.  I got about a mile-and-a-half down the road, and it came to my mind, I never reloaded the piece of walnut!  I wasn’t concerned whether or not it would be there, but about how it would have been had that piece of walnut not come to my mind.  I thought about the time I would have wasted and the inconvenience of having to go back and even the embarrassment that I forgot it.

When God’s Word tells us that God is our help, we may tend to categorize the times and places He is and isn’t willing to help.  For example, many can only recognize the help of God in a crisis situation or emergency.  But from my understanding of who God is, He is helping us in every way and at all times, not just in the emergency situations of our lives.  He is helping us in the ordinary mundane situations of life.  God is helping us even remember things, and let me say, God is helping us forget some things.  God is helping us speak at times and to know what to say.  God is helping us in moments of great sorrow through a call or text from a friend.  God is placing complete strangers in our pathway to help us.  God is helping us understand spiritual truths and realities.  God is helping us apply the principles of His Word to our lives.  God is helping us love and empowering us to wait.  There is not an area of your life God is not helping you.  We don’t always make the connection or give Him the glory and credit, but He still helps us.  The next time something good happens in your life, consider it and believe it to be God in the middle of it.  God is helping you!

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’”  Hebrews 13:5-6

More Than You Can Handle

God delights in giving you more than you can handle.  That sounds just the opposite of a popular cliche tossed around by many Christians who say, “God will not put on you more than you can handle.”  But that hasn’t been my experience in life and in my walk with God.  I’ve been overwhelmed by tasks many times, and I’m certain you have as well.  The truth of God’s Word is, He will confront us with challenges that are way over our head.  And because God delights in giving you more than you can handle, you need to be strong and courageous.  Take Joshua, for example, at the time leadership was transitioning from Moses to him.  This is what God spoke to him,

“No man shall [be able to] stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, [so] I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. 6 “Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:5-7

Joshua was handed the reigns of leadership over hundreds of thousands of people, and he probably felt anything but “strong and courageous,” but that is the requirement when you are challenged with an overwhelming task or opportunity.  Joshua was able to rise to the occasion because he had God’s promise, he understood the mission, he knew where to keep his focus (“the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left”), and he wanted to prosper.  God will give you more than you can handle, but he will also give you what you need to handle it.  And Joshua did prosper in the overwhelming, more-than-he-could-handle task.

So if you are faced with an overwhelming task or opportunity, don’t think it’s not from God and don’t shrink back in fear.  It may be from God to grow you and show you how God will come through for you.  As you take on what looks impossible or daunting and walk in obedience to God, God will take it on with you.  God will join in those things you consider more than you can handle and the reason He does is so when the victory comes, you will tell the world, “It was all God!”

Be Weak

Who would ever go around telling people how weak they are?  Most of the people I know want to talk about their strengths, talents and abilities, because we take pride in those areas.  But what are the areas you are weak in?  I’ve heard a song that speaks to this weakness and it says, “I can’t even walk without You holding my hand.” Could it be that of all the things God is doing in your life, he is intentionally making you weak, so that you will be strong?  The apostle Paul prayed for God to remove the thorn from his flesh 3 times.  Evidently this thorn, whatever it was, had a weakening affect on Paul, or at least initially he thought it did.  Is there anything in your life right now that you feel is weakening you and you’ve asked God over and over to remove it?  Some people have a history of rebellion they wish could be wiped away.  Some have needs they feel are hindering their life.  Some people have physical disabilities they want God to heal or take away completely.  There are even people who want God to remove other people from their lives because they think they are holding them back.  But what if making you weak is God’s plan?
You can ask and ask and plead with God to remove certain things from your life, and at times He will, but you can believe at times He will also give you the same answer He gave Paul.
        “My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9.
To which Paul replied,
“Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.  For when I am weak——then, then, and only then I am strong.”  
Perhaps what God is doing in your life right now is making you weak.  You can fight against it and you can fervently pray, but when you surrender completely to what God is doing, you can experience His perfect strength.  God’s plan for your life has always been to save you and then to indwell you and then to live His life through you.  That happens in the moments we come to the place of saying, “I can’t” and God says, “I can, let me.”
“For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  

Be Strong

 

How strong are you?  Back in my high school days we worked out just about every day to build up strength and stamina. Even after high school, I found myself pumping that iron to stay in shape and to maintain my strength.  That’s probably the story of many others, but the older I get, I’ve noticed that even with working out, I can be strong, but not like the days of my youth. Physically everyone loses their strength over time, but that doesn’t have to be the case spiritually. The apostle Paul said, “Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”  Ephesians 6:10. 

We need this encouragement today because of the hostile environments we enter into and the spiritual wrestling required to survive.  Our mistake oftentimes is that we don’t know who our opponent is, so we end up in major conflicts with our spouse, or with our co-worker, or with our neighbors. Our wrestling is with spiritual forces of darkness in heavenly places.  Our wrestling opponent, Paul said, was not on the human level, but the spiritual.  That’s not to say we don’t come into contact with those who come against us, we certainly do, but even then, we must see our battle is not directly with them.
I love watching the Strong Man’s Contest where those massive men show how strong they are by lifting weights, pushing or pulling trucks, and lifting heavy concrete balls.  It’s possible and very likely to be very strong physically, but a weakling spiritually, and that’s why Paul said, “Be strong in the Lord.” To be strong in the Lord means to walk in love and to be full of faith. To be strong in the Lord you have to know the Lord on a very personal level. To be strong in the Lord means you are a person of prayer.  To be strong in the Lord you must be filled with the Holy Spirit.  To be strong in the Lord you must be completely covered with the armor of God.  Let me ask you, what does it matter if you can win physical battles and intellectual debates if you lose every spiritual confrontation?  God has equipped you to win every spiritual wrestling match against your unseen enemy. Spiritually, you are not someone who should be pushed around and knocked down, but it happens, and it has happened to me more times than I want to admit.  So what do you do?  You get back up, and you go again.  You learn the enemy’s strategy and you renew and gain strength in the Lord. You are strong, but your source of strength is not in you, it’s in the Lord. Starting today, be strong in the Lord!

Super-Spreaders

You may be living in the blessings of those around you. When someone walks in faith and obedience to God, that person lives with the overflowing blessings and favor of God. There is a light and love and a goodness that emanates from their life that touches those around them.  Those who walk in faith and obedience to God will have a great attitude and outlook on life, but what I’m talking about is more than someone having a great attitude.  These followers of Christ are the “super-spreaders” of God’s saving gospel. They are the carriers of His presence. Listen to this, your work place ought to be favored because you are there. Your school and church and programs ought to be favored and especially blessed because you are there walking in faith and obedience to God.

Jesus said these words, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  —Matthew 5:16.  God saved us and put His spirit in us to make an impact wherever we go. As you go out today, know that you are taking God’s presence with you, so don’t hide it. Be a blessing everywhere you go!

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