Aaron Summers

Archive for 2017|Yearly archive page

Spiritual Diet and Exercise

In Chrisian Life on December 7, 2017 at 7:11 am

I joined a local health club this year in hopes of getting more fit and getting to know people outside of the church bubble.  Thankfully, I have done both.  When I started I began meeting with Jimmy who is on staff.  He introduced me to all of the equipment and walked me through a variety of workout options.  Being 40+ requires a different process!
One of the things we discussed was diet.  There are so many info-ads and click bait on Facebook I never know what to believe and not to believe.  The nutrition book from college is probably still accurate but I do know advances in science and nutrition have occurred since graduating 25 years ago!

One thing has remained the same, though.  If you are going to workout regularly, then you have to fuel your body. I tracked my intake for a month and we visited again.  I was around 1800-2000 calories/day.  If I wanted weight loss, I needed to burn more than I took in.  However, I also needed to eat enough to push my body through the workouts.

Galatians 6:2 – Share each other’s burdens.

You will face times in your life when friends or family will go through a rough patch.  Maybe even a devastating or particularly troubling patch!  In those moments, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay afloat yourself.  How easy it is to get caught up in the drama.  You love them!  You don’t want them to hurt.  It can really wear you down.

What is the solution?  Eat more.

That’s right.  Eat more, not less.  You see, just like my eating needed to increase (in a healthy way) on workout days, so does your spiritual eating.  When you are helping another work through difficulty or drama you are having a faith workout!  Exercising is exhausting.  It is harder when you have no fuel in the tank.

Listen, if you are in Scripture often and you are still struggling, it is because you need to read more.  If I out my body through a series of workouts but do not increase my calories to balance the need, then my body will actually suffer.  My metabolism will slow to hoard the energy.  However, if I eat more then it revs up my metabolism and the body chugs along and gets more fit.  It is easy to get caught up in the other person’s issue and you forget to read, or at least you do not read more.

As you find yourself in a spiritual workout don’t forget to eat.  Get in God’s Word so that your spiritual body can chug along and get stronger, leaner, and more efficient in it’s daily routine.

The Believer and Birth Pains

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2017 at 10:17 am

It was the Summer of 2001 and we were preparing for our 1st child to arrive.  He was scheduled for September 1.  Little did we know what was going to happen; how the world would change.  The bedroom had been prepared and the house cleaned.  We were just waiting for the timing.  We had moments where we thought it was maybe the time, but our doctor assured us it was not, and we just needed to wait, not worry, and be prepared for the work that would follow.

We were anxious.  We, at least I, was scared about bringing in this new person to the house.  Our doctor assured us that it would be fine.  “You’re ready!”, she would say.  We are not going to rush this birth.  It will happen when God is ready for it to occur.  We need to wait and not worry about it.

In Acts 1, Luke begins his 2nd book since he wrote the Gospel for which he is named.  After Jesus had been with them for 40 days teaching about the Kingdom of God he begins to prepare them for the birth of the church.  They are anxious and fearful too.

WAIT

He tells them to wait for the Father’s promise.  Isn’t it easy to run on ahead of God?  Jesus knew these guys were ready to go DO something FOR God.  Jesus wanted them, and us, to wait for the Holy Spirit so we will be doing WITH God.  It matters not whether it is church or home, we do FOR more than WITH God!  We have education, experience, and energy.  Let’s go do something!  Or, we have a need to fill so we need to GET BUSY.  If you serve in your church on the nominating committee or committee on committees or in some capacity of filling positions in the church please read this.  It is such a trap of the Devil for us to run on our logic, strength, ability, and persuasion.  In this moments we can

  • Put the wrong people in the wrong places
  • Put the right people in the wrong places
  • Put the right people in the right place but at the wrong time

All of these are dangerous because it is a result of OUR doing not the SPIRIT’S leading.  Jesus told them to wait.  He tells us to wait.

DON’T WORRY

The next questions from the people center around misunderstood beliefs about the Messiah.  They still thought He was going to lead an uprising against the Roman oppression.  They still wondered when the restoration was going to happen.

We would never misunderstand Jesus, would we?

Jesus tells them not to worry about those things and pivots back to the Holy Spirit.  He guides them back to the higher thoughts.  Restoration would have provided pride.  Reception of the Holy Spirit would provide power.  Restoration would provide glory to Israel.  Reception provided glory to God.  We worry way too much about our creature comforts and conveniences and not enough on God’s glory!  We are not to worry about such things.  Our concern is to be following the guidance of the Spirit in all things.

PREPARE TO WORK

Jesus ends with passing the torch of the great mission of God:  reach the world with the Gospel.  However, the design has been skewed these hundreds of years.  We have turned relational transfer into religious talks.  In our consumer societal structure, we have brought that nonsense into the church house.  The very words of Jesus here describe the power of God entering US, personally.  WE are to be the witnesses to the world.  As we are going we are to be living, showing, and expressing the gospel of Jesus.

2 days after our son was born we were told it was time to go home. Wait.  What?  How many nurses are going with us? Who will be providing the meals for us?  Who will handle the needs when we can’t?  WE CANNOT GO HOME YET!  The birth had happened.  Recovery was done.  Now it was time to parent.

CONCLUSION

As a follower of Christ, please wait for the Spirit’s leading before acting.  Stop worrying about things beyond your control.  Let’s get busy making disciples and parenting.  We have much to do.  Let’s go!

 

Do You Pray with Gas or Diesel?

In Uncategorized on October 31, 2017 at 7:00 am

The first time I drove a diesel I was given specific instructions before I was given the keys!  I was informed that before driving the car the engine had to warm up in a specific way.  Then it was pointed out that the bulb on the dashboard was called the “glow plug”.  After starting the engine, I needed to wait until the light came on before putting the car in gear.

I hated that wait!

I had only driven gas engines.  Turn the key and go, right?  Unless it was a cold morning, I had it in gear almost before the engine turned over.  Not being very patient, that diesel wait drove me nuts.  I was glad to back to my gas engine!

Jesus was teaching the crowd and in the middle of it He shared about prayer.  It started with approaching and addressing God.  While there are not many words, there is a distinct pause in this beginning time.  Notice that Jesus never mentions a physical posture.  However, there is much to say about our mental and heart posture.  The way Jesus approaches the Father is filled with humility and empty of pride.  As He begins to communicate he acknowledges the Father’s position and character.  Then He emptied Himself further, He wanted God’s will to be done on Earth as it was already begin done in Heaven.  Jesus wanted to be in the right position in mind and heart before ever really requested anything.

Jesus was praying with a diesel engine.  Too often we pray with a gas engine.

We often go straight to the asking without taking the time to warm things up.  Skeptics would proclaim that God just wants to be buttered up.  However, as a follower of Christ, I understand that it is not my place to disrespect God by not at least acknowledging who He is!  I love my kids, but if they just run in and start requesting money, I am going to make them pause.  There is a better way.  I want to have a little conversation before we get to the begging!

Are you praying with diesel or gas?

I Doubt It

In Gospel Living on October 26, 2017 at 10:34 am

Doubt.  It can get the best of us at times.  We have all been through it in one way or another.  What are some things about which you have doubted?  For me, I have doubted much in my life.  However, I have also been reassured at every turn.  In his book, The Thomas Factor, Gary Haberman shares 3 types of doubt:

  1. Factual – this is an honest questioning of the truthfulness of subject.
  2. Emotional – this is an honest feeling usually based on circumstances.
  3. Volitional – this is a choice one makes to doubt, or mistrust, a person or subject area.

As I look at this, I recall how I have doubted in each of these categories.  Haven’t you?

  1. I was taught that Columbus discovered America and was a great man. However, my kids are being taught something radically different.  Now I have factual doubt.
  2. After having interviews with different organizations that failed to produce a job, the next interview was hard for me to believe (doubt) would end any different. Based on experience, I doubted.  I didn’t feel it.
  3. I hated President Reagan. I chose to believe nothing good was going to come from his leadership.  I doubted, by choice, in his ability.  Jimmy Carter was a Christian so he had to be the better president!  This rose out of what my Dad being fired while on strike in 1980. I was 10.  However, in review, I have matured and realized many more things.  At the time I had volitional doubt.

I would encourage you to examine how you have doubted over the years.  Once done, we must now move to our faith.  Thomas doubted and we often rake him over the coals.  If we are honest, we have done the same thing!  The question is one of which type of doubt did he, and you, have?  I believe he had a mixture of factual and emotional.  He SAW Jesus die.  He was PAINED over the death.  He needed to SEE Jesus to really believe.  He was not going to take someone else’s word for it.

Is that really so bad?

Jesus didn’t think so either.  He showed up again and addressed Thomas’ concerns.  He addresses yours too!  The challenge is to believe.  We might not see any way for an issue to resolve or a person to come through.  However, that which is impossible to us is not impossible for God.  Ask Mary!

As we investigate the facts.  As we evaluate our emotions.  As we examine our choices.  The response we need it faith.  Thomas expresses this faith and does so publicly.  It is one thing for us to be convinced of something and God confirms it.  We might privately confess this but it seems we are being encouraged to go public.

Why?

Throughout the Gospels we see Jesus encounter people for a variety of needs.  In many cases, he calls them to a public confession/announcement of what has happened.  Most famously is the woman with the issue of blood.  She touched his robe privately.  He asked who touched him publicly.  The apostles did not know what he was doing.  However, Jesus was calling for this woman to a state of courage.  He knew who did it.  The question was not one of ignorance but a call for confession – publicly.  She wanted to believe, but a kernel of doubt remained.  She touched his robe HOPING something would happen.  Did she not just ask, like all the rest, because she doubted?  Quite possibly she had emotional doubt.  Jesus met her in her greatest need and helped her to progress in her doubt to belief.

May we be public in our belief.  So all the world will know Jesus saves!

Numbers and Noses? Is there another way?

In Church, Leadership on October 5, 2017 at 8:53 am

Evaluations.

We all must do them and have them done to us.  In church life, this tends to be tricky…and messy.  We have borrowed so many terms from the business world that we are fuzzy on the real issues before us.  We use terms such as personnel, finance, human resources, etc.  It is no wonder we have easily shifted into a cultural version of evaluative measures.

Every year, churches come to this point and feel they must do an evaluation on those who receive a salary.  I certainly understand and accept accountability.  We SHOULD be holding one another accountable.  However, the criteria of the accountability are shifting toward cultural norms more than spiritual ones.

  • One pastor I know put so much emphasis on numbers that if their ministry area did not double in attendance in 6 months they were going to be let go. While many of us shriek and shirk back from such audacious criteria, most of us are not far from it.
  • Consider EVERY state convention’s reporting system…numbers and stats. The questions “How many?” and “How much?” are asked more than anything else.
  • Consider every time you run into a ministry friend. “How many are you running?”, is a common question.
  • Some states award those who baptize more than anyone else.

Don’t get me wrong.  I know these things are important.  However, we put too much emphasis on them.  When it comes to evaluating the staff in your church, what do you ask?  I have served 5 churches.  In each of them, this was an arduous process for all involved!  I have been asked about goals and vision.  I have been evaluated on preaching style, length, and topic.  I have been evaluated on communication and leadership.  On one occasion, the question was posed to the evaluating group “What is there about the pastor you don’t like?”  That was an interesting discussion!

Consider this:

  • When I was ordained, the biblical qualifications were considered.
  • Every church I have interviewed with has used the biblical qualifications as one point of the review.
  • I have never been asked about the biblical qualifications during an evaluation.

Why?  Once we have a person on staff we shift into management roles.  We look at job descriptions.  We search human resource materials for options.   We talk about vision, mission, and purpose.  We set numerical goals.  We chastise if we don’t reach them and challenge them to do more if they do.

Is there another way?  I believe there is.  Don Cousins, the author of Experiencing Leadershift, suggests 4 questions as we evaluate.  I will share my thoughts with each.

  1. Is <staff member> faithful?

Just as it was discussed in the interview process.  I believe those in ministry positions ought to be examined for their faithfulness to the biblical qualifications. (See 1 Tim 3, Titus 1:7 and Acts 20:28)  If the search team saw it as important, why don’t we later?  Is the staff member faithful to what God has called them to be?  These qualities cover character, family, spouse, scripture, and morality.  If there is a fidelity problem then address it.  If there is not a fidelity issue then move forward.

  1. Is <staff member> fruitful?

Paul wrote to Galatia expressing that the follower of Jesus will have certain qualities naturally expressed.  These include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  In your evaluation of the staff member in question, do they have these characteristics?  Do they show love?  Do they have patience?  Are they kind and gentle?  Each of us has strengths and weaknesses in this list.  Take the time to share with them how you have seen the strengths.  Help them to see how to support the weaker areas.  These 9 items build character in us as we follow Christ.

  1. Is <staff member> fulfilled?

Here is the moment the staff member can share their heart with you.  It is my prayer that every staff member would have the peace of mind and feeling of safety to openly share if they are fulfilled in ministry here.  I confess, over the years I have not always felt those moments to be a safe space.  I strongly suggest that as we bring on this next generation of ministry staff we are going to have to give constant feedback in a safe environment.  They demand it.  It doesn’t matter if you like it or not, that is where we are going.  Further, every staff member has the right to be respected enough to be given that safe space.  It is the church’s responsibility to honor those who work hard among you.

  1. Is <staff member> making God famous?

Too many ministers build their own little kingdoms.  It is never more evident than when they leave.  You know what happens?  Their people leave too.  That ministry falls apart.  If a minister is seeking to personal honor, trouble soon follows.  In this moment of evaluation, you can provide feedback as to what you have witnessed. (Please do not act on hearsay.)  A minister of God seeks to reflect God’s glory rather than their own.  Help them to see how they are doing this.  Support them through the difficult times of adjustment if this isn’t happening.

Conclusion

Annual reviews do not have to be dreaded.  They can be fulfilling and encouraging.  This year, take a different approach.  If your staff member is found to be faithful, fruitful, fulfilled, and making God famous then what more would you want?  God will work out everything else.  I would suggest to you that you will prefer this method over what you might be doing now.

 

 

Is Your Church At-Risk?

In Leadership on September 26, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Nominating Committees everywhere are starting to work hard to fill church positions.  I have worked on both the local and state level in trying to uncover and discover and recover people to serve on various boards, agencies, team, committees, and teaching slots.  I have seen the good and bad side of filling positions.  Often, we cherry pick the best people for certain positions and scramble to just fill the page.

Tragic.

Somewhere in the deep recesses, we know there should be more involved but who has the time?  In most cases in church, there are 2 positions for every committee plus trustees, clerks, moderators, and more.  Whatever your policies are, here are a few reminders as you go about the work of ministry.

Saved

Is Joe a believer?  You might think this is a no-brainer, but it isn’t.  I have seen good and God-fearing people bring to the table names of those who have yet to decide for Christ but have the vocational skill in the area of need.  Until a person has placed faith in Jesus and received the forgiveness of sin, they are not prepared to make spiritual decisions in the church.  I realize that which paper towel holders are needed in the bathroom, or what color the toilets need to be, seem to be irrelevant to this moment.  I tell you it is relevant!  There will come a time that, even though they can add and read a P&L sheet, spiritual direction will be necessary.  In those moments, we need faith not just facts!

Settled

No matter where your church stands on membership or fellowship or covenants, the person being suggested needs to be settled in their attendance in your church.  Your church needs to decide what the requirements are going to be.  For example, how can someone really advise and guide personnel who attends 25% of the time?  How can someone really give input to practices and policies if they are not around often enough to speak well on these matters?  How can they lead a group when they are in other churches because of family, invites, events, and such?

Supportive

This has to do with their mouth and their money.  You want people in leadership to be vocally supportive of the staff and the church mission and vision.  Naysayers create problems.  Gossips create integrity issues.  Those who refuse to follow Matthew 18 will create hazards and splits.  Those in leadership have a higher accountability and must be held to it.

Only the treasurer/bookkeeper will know how much someone gives.  In our situation, we have set a low limit of $200/month in giving.  If someone is giving more than that they are considered available to serve.  If someone is not meeting that need, but I am aware of low-income status in their home, I will seek to discover if their giving is regular.

We all need to row in the same direction otherwise we go in circles.

Secure

Background checks are difficult for our older generations to grasp.  Having grown up in radically different social times it is often a church hurdle.  However, we MUST be doing these.  The obvious areas are in youth and

Background checks are difficult for our older generations to grasp.  Having grown up in radically different social times it is often a church hurdle.  However, we MUST be doing these.  The obvious areas are in youth and childhood ministries.  However, I would encourage committee members too.  Another option would be that committee members sign an agreement of confidentiality.  While much of what is done in committee life is open for membership to hear, there are those times when sensitive items need to be discussed.  Our church family is not always prepared to hear all that is discussed.

For example, My wife and I discuss a LOT at the dinner table with our kids.  However, when we moved to Texas 3 years ago they were not at an age to handle that information until they HAD to handle it.  They didn’t know about the interviews and discussions of housing and schools.  Our church members are at all levels of maturity.  We must have the mature lead and, at times, do so confidentially.

Spiritual

God has equipped your church with people. Within them lies the spirit of God.  Do you see the fruit of the Spirit revealed in their actions and speech?  Do you sense they are being led by the Spirit or by other causes?  Sometimes, everything can seem right and the pressure is on to finish the task.  However, we must pause and ensure the Spirit’s guidance and gifting.  Someone who is gifted with mercy or helps will have a difficult time serving in an administrative role.  Also, if the finance/stewardship committee is filled with those who are strong in faith run the risk of presenting a budget too large for the congregation.  There needs to be a balance.

I pray for our nominating committees as they seek to serve the Lord and His church.  May you be wise, righteous, and godly in your choices this Fall.

Getting Out of the Rut

In Gospel Living on July 27, 2017 at 8:01 am

​I began college in the pre-med program.  My first semester I was carrying 18 hours filled with biology, chemistry, calculus, and more.  I     loved it.  A aprt of chemistry was the lab.  We would all file in, partner up, and begin the assignment.  Some days we mixed chemcicals.  Some days we heated up stuff.  One day, we almost blew up the lab. 

Yet, one thing was always true.  No matter the assignment, the outcome was already known!  You see we weren’t forging new frontiers.  We were learners.  The professor had given us an assignment that had been done hundreds of times before.  He knew what the outcome was.  For us, it was something new.  For him, it was routine.
Life is not like a freshman chemistry lab.  We often get into routines and ruts.  Our problem is that we expect different results!
The definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.”
In 2 Samuel, David has just been crowned King of all Israel. He has been King in Hebron for 7 years.  Now he has come to fulfillment of God’s pronouncement years ago.  He sits on the throne of all Israel.  As is the custom, kings go off to war.  He asked the Lord if he should respond to the Philitine aggression.  God said, “Yes”.  Daivd went and defeated them.
Here’s the tricky part!  It happens again in the same chapter, but this time God directs him differently!!  War was routine.  War was the same.  War had its rules, even in an uncivilized time and place.
Most of us like routine because it brings us comfort.  However, if we are staying in touch with God we can be drawn off of the right path by our own ruts.  Don’t dig in too deep!
Here are 3 things to keep in mind about your path and God’s directives:
1.  Be inquisitive.  Throughout his life, we see a repeated action:  David inquired of the Lord.  Before most decisions, David would askGod what should be done.  Are you?  Are you goin on experience?  What if God wants to go differently?  Are you goin with conventional wisdom?  What if God wants to be unconventional?  Are you basing your tomorrow on yesterday?
2.  Be sensitive.  Everything in David would have said to attack from the front rather than flank around to the side and back.  We must be sensitive to the leadership of the Holy Spirit as we are guided through life.
3.  Be decisive.  God gave David a specific instruction.  When he heard the sound of marching then he was to act.  Too often, we might hear a word from God and understand it, but we are too timid.  We are too fearful.  God has given us a spirit of power not fear; a spirit of strength not timidity.  It does not matter if your friends and family do not understand.  If God has spoken, then act!

In what ways has God directed you in a unique way recently?  Did you follow decisively?

Little White Lies Never Hurt, Right?

In Gospel Living on July 25, 2017 at 8:45 am

​Whenever Billy would complain about walking the bustop that was 100 ft fromthe house, Grandpa would tell the story of how bad it was when he was growing up.  He would walk up hill to and from school!  He had to walk in 3 feet of snow…in September! 

We laugh at this because we know it is absurd.  However, I wonder how often we embellish a story to make a point, or to impress, or to get that job we want, or to save our own skin.

At the end of 1 Samuel we read how King Saul died in battle.  He was wounded and he fell on his sword.  When his assistant saw that he was dead, he fell on his sword also.  When we read the opening chapter of 2 Samuel we see soeone coming in to David and suggesting that Saul was not dead, but mortally wounded, and at the King’s request, he finished the job.  In his hand were the crown and armband.  He wanted David to have them.  When I read that, at first, I thought something was wrong because there are 2 stories here of the same event.  Which was true?

I know that the Bible is truth and does nto contradict itself.  So I began to consider how there could be 2 stories.  It dawned on me that this man must be an opportunist.  He saw what happened and wanted to secure for himself a better position in the new regime!  So he fibbed a little.  He started with the fact that they were dead.  But when pressed by David on HOW he knew this, he lied.  He assumed David wanted Saul dead.  We know this isn’t true because of the times he refused to kill him even when it would have been easy.  This man thought he could tell a white lie, present the crown and armband, and be ushered into the highest of positions under the new king.

Or so he thought.  

The problem with lying is that you have to tell more to cover the others.  Creating a web of lies that mask the original is tedious and exhausting.  When given the chance, tell the truth and trust God to handle it.  Telling the samllest lie will corrupt your integrity and cause a shortfall publicly.  It is not worth it, ever.  Those white lies that got you the job will come back later.  Those white lies in the beginning of the romance will hurt later.  Those white lies are dangerous.

What about those that we tell to salvage someone’s feelings?  The dreaded question of how a dress looks to a husband can be difficult.  I think we should salvage feelings and not be harsh with people.  If you cannot avoid it, then at least be gentle and kind.  The Bible says to speak truth in love.  We had better figure out how to that or we are sunk!

How have telling white lies harmed you over the years?

5 Steps to Fighting Giants

In Gospel Living on July 20, 2017 at 7:04 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. Cast your stone for victory. 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.

 

Experience Victory Today!

In Gospel Living on July 18, 2017 at 8:50 am

The headlines are filled with the issue in the Senate concerning the failure of the majority leaders to pass just about anything they put up for a vote.  Today is no different with the defeat of replacing the current health system in America.  Now they will go back and try something else, such as just repeal it.  Then they will try to figure out how to care for a nation in need of health care and its reform.

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, we CAN identify with defeat.  We have faced it personally and from a distance.  Maybe you have failed a class, failed a marriage, failed at holding a job.  Maybe you have failed at living for Jesus due to habits that will not seem to go away.  Maybe you watched as others failed, or your sports team failed.

We need a victory!  How can we experience victory?

There is an interesting moment in the Old Testament.  The Ark of God had been returned to Israel after the Philistines decided it wasn’t worth serving God to keep it!  The ark has been in Kiriath-jearim for 20 years.  The people apparently did not realize this in the rest of the nation.  They felt God had abandoned them when it was the people who had walked away from God.  Samuel, the prophet/priest/judge for the people brought to them a prescription.

  • Get rid of idols
  • Dedicate yourselves to God

The people agreed to this and gathered at Mizpah to settle the issue.  Look at what they did while they were there:

  • Poured out water as a symbol of clearing their lives of the wrongs in a sacrificial way.
  • Fasted.
  • Confessed.
  • Burnt Offering.

When the Philistines came up to destroy them, God provided victory!

What is coming at you today, this week, or month?  What seems to be attacking you?

If you are experiencing defeat in an area today, consider reviewing this passage in practicing the principles we find there.

What idols do you have in your life?  Is it time to clear the stage of your heart?

As you dedicate yourself to God alone we will follow the pattern we find in scripture:

  • Give praise to God by showing dependence.
  • Fast.
  • Confess.
  • Sacrifice through worship.
  • Set up a memory to refer to how God moved in your life – celebrate it!

God allows us to go through difficult times, often because we made dumb choices!  But there is hope.  As we allow scripture to intersect our lives we can live out the freedom promised by the Gospel!

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