In Chrisian Life on August 5, 2015 at 2:32 pm
One Summer we lived just up the hill from the Kentucky River. Right behind our house was a deep creek that was fed from the river and was great for fishing! Nearly every day I would grab my pole and go down. My mom had one of those triangle bells that she would ring when it was time for me to come home. One particular day I had gotten pretty muddy. My view of the situation was much like the picture above. So when I arrived at the house and was not allowed in I was confused. While I did not think it was all that bad, my mom sure did.
She was not about to let me in the house until I had washed off. I stood there and she began to wash me off with the hose. Once I was clean I could enjoy the benefits of the house, lunch, and the couch!
This is often the case with confession. I recently read a poem from an unknown source that begins with the “6 most important words”: I admit I made a mistake. We run through our days, weeks, and years and do not give much credence to our need to be clean. We, like me, think it is just our hands that are dirty and we wash them like Pontious Pilate disregarding any further need. However, from God’s perspective we need a complete shower!
When we are not staying clean through confessing our sins to God we are like that kid at camp who doesn’t shower. It affects more than just one person. Sin might be fun in the moment but we will lose our grip on joy and our relationship with Jesus will suffer. Shame and guilt come into play and then we are just a mess. Confess what you know and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what you have forgotten. Whatever is getting in the way of your relationship with God needs cleansing.
Now would be a good time…
In Chrisian Life on July 20, 2015 at 8:14 am
His name was Anthony and we were in the fifth grade. He had already hit his stride in the growth spurt and was already a little older than the rest of us. Looking back, I know what was happening, but was completely unaware at the time. All I knew was that he picked on everyone. He would slap them. He would hit them. He would talk smack. On one particular day, he focused his attention on the smallest boy in the class. Incensed, I stepped in and let the victim roll out. I caught him at an awkward moment and jumped on top. Somehow we ended up under a table. I raised my hand and hit the table. This caused just enough pause that the teacher came in. Needless to say, the office was the next stop. Anthony didn’t mess with us anymore that year. The giant had been taken down.
David walked up on the army of Israel when Goliath stepped up and shouted. This was not just a shout against the armies of Israel, but were shouts against the integrity, power, and majesty of God. He was calling into question the nature of God and the covenant! David couldn’t stand it and stepped in to do something. As you might guess, this is the sling and 5 stones story. David fought the giant and won.
What major issues are you facing right now? They loom large, weigh heavy, and cause stress, anxiety, or despair. Maybe it’s a boss who taunts you. Maybe it’s a spouse, child, or family member that has disappointed or betrayed you. Maybe you’re dealing with health issues with your parents, or a child is sick. Financial limitations stress us out and break marriages.
How do we deal with these problems? Like the Israelites, we feel hopeless to do anything. We feel that God’s promises are only true for others. David, though, believed in the covenant. He trusted in God’s Word. He made a choice to fight the giant. Here are 5 steps to victory:
- Consider the situation. David got to a point, quickly, that something must be done. Until you are truly fed up and ready to act you will lose. You will be trembling in the trenches like David’s brothers. But, when you get to the point that you are tired of hearing God’s promises taunted, then you will be ready for victory. The first thing you must do is consider the situation worthy of the fight. If it is not worth changing then you need to stop letting it control you. If it is worth changing keep reading.
- Have the courage to step out. David wondered, “Why not me? Why not now?” Are you there? Once we decide the problem is worth the fight courage is the next step. Stop waiting for someone, anyone, to handle YOUR problems. God has allowed them into your space. Will you trust? Will you jump off the ledge of fear and grab onto the courage God’s Spirit has planted within you? Why not you? Why can’t you be the change you want to see happen?
- Count the cost. David felt that the mocking of God was so critically bad that he was willing to die if need be. He evaluated the situation. He stepped up to Saul and pronounced he would handle the problem – HIM. He was the youngest. He was the smallest. BUT, he was willing to die for what he believed. Are you ready to lose if you must? What if you lose your job? Do you trust God? What if you lose your kids or your spouse? Do you trust God? What if you DO lose your life which is very possible in parts of our world today? Do you trust God? Count this cost. If you are not willing to pay the price, stop reading now. If you are ready, keep reading.
- Confidence to speak up in prayer. David engaged in this fight in the name of the Lord, for God’s glory. Read that again. He was doing this for God’s glory not his own. He did receive quite a bit, but only because that was not his aim. If you want the glory just stop. You may win but it will be very hollow. Possibly, you will only trade one issue for another. Self-made confidence is far weaker than spirit-filled confidence. David had experience and education, but his real strength was in the relationship he had with God. Go in that confidence.
- David only used one of the five stones he picked up. I don’t know why he picked five, but he did. What I notice is that it only took one. God will use your gifts and talents matched with our courage and pure confidence in God to give you victory. David achieved this victory immediately. Those in Hebrews 11 did not all see what they fought for come to conquest, but it did.
God demands his glory. We are put in situations where that can happen if we have the courage and confidence to fight for the conquest. As was once shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”
In Chrisian Life on July 15, 2015 at 3:57 pm
Frank Sinatra is infamous for a number of reasons, not the least of which being the song “My Way”. This song boasts of living life and making decisions without regard to norms, morals, accepted or directed rules. He wants everyone to know that he did it all his way and for his own fame.
Subway wants you to have your sandwich “Your Way”.
Progressive Insurance purports to put you in the driver’s seat with your insurance choices.
Our world is seduced into isolated, personal, decisions as the most important part of life. We want our choices, done our way, with the price only I want to pay.
David was the new King and above all he wanted the Ark back in country. He rallied the people and hyped them up on the idea. The whole group agreed that it was the right thing to do. All of Israel was summoned and the ark was placed on a cart and away they went. One of the oxen stumbled and Uzzah steadied the ark and God struck him dead!
David was mad and he was now afraid of God. The Ark was left in a nearby village for three months. The home where it rested was blessed greatly!
What do we learn from this? As leaders in industry, small groups, churches, or families we realize 4 fatiguing facts about doing it our way.
- God has a better plan than the group idea. David did not stop and read how it should be done. It thought he was exempt. We, too, think we are exempt at times. We want the shortcut. We want easy grace. We want easy-believism. We want high return for low investment. Read God’s plan. When David did it made all the difference.
- Someone will pay a high price. Uzzah died. Your choice may not kill someone, but something, or someone, will get hurt. Often I find people making decisions because it feels right, but they have not thought it all the way through. Parents who want it all for their kids but cannot make time for spiritual growth and church body life will find their kids out of step with God. These same folks cannot understand because “they raised their kids in church”, which usually means when there was nothing else to do and if they got up in time.
- Emotions will run out of control. We like to blame God. David did. He was mad at God for Uzzah’s death. Who’s fault was it really? David was at fault but it was simpler to blame someone else. Today we would have sued the cart builder, the one who raised the ox, or the one who was to maintain the road. Anything to get the blame and guilt and shame away. Some will even increase the personal drama publicly to draw attention away from the real problem. Now everyone is focused on the drama queen more than the issue in question.
- Someone gets your blessing. When it is all said and done, you miss a blessing. David could have been blessed greater if he had just followed directions and give the right orders. Now he had to sit and stew while watching Obed-edom get the blessing. While you stew someone else rejoices. It could have been you.
Some will call it independence. Others call it being the “Lone Ranger”. God just calls it silly. We need Him and He knows it. Why do we insist on doing it our way, fixing it our way, solving it our way, or leading our way. God is greater. It is time we recognize this fact and put interdependence into action.