Aaron Summers

5 Steps to Fighting Giants

In Chrisian Life on July 20, 2015 at 8:14 am

david_v_goliath

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!”

GO.

FIGHT.

WIN.

 

4 Fatiguing Facts of Doing It “My Way”

In Chrisian Life on July 15, 2015 at 3:57 pm

MyWay

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!

Wait.  What?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

 

The Cupcake Gospel

In Evangelism, Faith, Jesus on July 8, 2015 at 2:11 pm

cupcake-5

Once there were 4 beautiful girls Abigail, Emma, Cora, and Gabrielle who lived in a mid-sized kingdom.  They lived in 4 little houses at the end of 4 dead-end streets.  They had good families who were always struggling to make ends meet.  Abigail lived in a pink house but loved all things purple.  Emma lived in a purple house but loved all things green.  Cora lived in a green house but loved all things pink.  Gabrielle lived in a yellow house and loved all things yellow.  On this particular day they each were going to receive a very special gift.

Abigail almost stepped on hers as she was sweeping the dust out of the house through the front door.  She just happened to look down and notice the purple box just sitting on the stoop.  Not knowing what it could be, but knowing it must be for her because it was a purple box at a pink house, she quickly opened the box.  Inside was a gorgeous gift and a note…

Emma woke up frustrated.  She had a bad night and she and her mom were fighting.  She just didn’t think anything made sense and was very overt about how she felt.  EVERYONE in the house knew Emma was in a bad mood.  In fact, most think she was born that way!  She had been doing her chores and griped about them all morning.  She was stomping out of the house when she noticed a green box on the porch.  Knowing it was for her she tore open the box.  In it was a gift and a note…

Cora was returning from the market when she spotted hers.  She had visions of shops and shoes, and lip balm, and anything other trinket she could buy.  She ran up to the box and unwrapped it quickly.  Well, let’s just say she tore it to shreds getting into the box out of excitement!  She lifted the gift out of the box and saw a note…

Gabrielle got up from the flower bed and dusted herself off.  She got a little water from the bucket and washed her hands.  It was time to go inside for lunch.  As she rounded the corner to up the porch steps she saw the box.  A yellow box on a yellow porch of a yellow house might be thought of as invisible.  But this box was the brightest yellow she had ever seen!  She ran to the box and opened it up.  Inside was the most gorgeous gift she had ever seen with a note…

The note had this written on it:

Please accept this special-order, one-of-a-kind, cupcake from the King and Queen.  We think you’re awesome!  We wanted you to know how much we care for you.

Abigail knew exactly what she would do with this gift.  She cleaned off a shelf and dusted it.  Then she placed the cupcake right in the middle of all the trinkets and trophies.  She thought it was so beautiful.  How could she do anything else?  She wanted to admire it in the morning and evening.  She loved the King and loved this gift too.

After reading the note, Emma smashed the cupcake back in the box and threw it in the trash.  She didn’t want anything from the King.  She had heard her parents talking about the unfair decisions and what seemed like poor communications.  Her mom had been sick.  They sent messages to the king but there was no response.  She did not think the King really cared, though we all know he did.

Cora’s head was filled with thoughts of trading this exquisite looking cupcake for so many other things.  She wondered how many shoes she could get, or clothes she could get, or money…She immediately went back to the market.  She was told of a certain shop outside of the kingdom that specialized in such trades.  She planned on going the next day.

Gabrielle sat down and read the note.  Tears welled up in her eyes because she felt the love of the King and wanted to remember this very special day.  She painted a picture to remember this day and then sat down to eat the cupcake.  The cake was so moist and the icing just right with sweetness and fluffiness.  She ate the whole thing, which some would have thought was too much for a little girl.  She was completely satisfied.  No stomach aches after that amount of sweet.  No thirst.  She could still taste it and she was filled with joy and peace.

What each did not know what that there was a big war coming.  The king and queen wanted to protect everyone they could but each person had to decide for themselves.  These 4 little girls were each given a special cupcake.  If it was eaten they could be protected and would be able to remain with the King and Queen in safety.

When the war broke out, Abigail was separated from her gift and from the King.  She lived in misery forever.  Emma had been so mad that she did not eat hers either.  When the enemy broke through the wall near her home she was taken prisoner and never heard from again.  Cora found herself outside the gates making trades.  She had just finished getting several new pairs of shoes that would surely bring her a boy!  Before she made it back she was trapped and separated from the King.  Gabrielle, who had eaten the cupcake was protected by the King and found safety and shelter with them.  She lives in the joy and peace of the castle!

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the lord laid on him the sins of us all.  – Isaiah 53:4-6

What will you do with this precious gift of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Will you set it on the shelf and decide later?  Will you throw it away? Will you trade it away for something else?  Or, will you choose to place faith in Jesus?

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