Go With What You Know

Slingshot

 

I Samuel 17:38 – 39

Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.”

In the scripture above David was going out to kill Goliath. That was his plan from the beginning; to kill the person who was bringing reproach against the God of Israel. Yes, there were other people who heard Goliath’s threats and they planned to do nothing. Yes, there were people who were better prepared, with more experience and better equipped than David to battle Goliath but they didn’t have the heart, the passion or the resolve of David to protect the name of the Lord.

Everyone is always talking about how David went out to kill Goliath with a slingshot and five smooth stones but I think David went out with much more than human eyes can see. First, David went out to kill Goliath with history. He knew what God would do in order to protect him. God had given David the strength to fight and kill a bear and a lion, two foes that were mightier and fiercer than any man.

Second, David went out against Goliath with courage. To fight a bear and a lion in order to save some sheep means David had a level of courage locked in his DNA that not everyone has at their disposal. It’s like the Marines, policemen, firemen or another first responder; while everyone else is running away from terror or a disaster, they are running towards it. Not everyone has what it takes to do these types of jobs. David had what it took to lay his life on the line for some sheep; certainly, he had what it took to lay his life on the line to protect the name and character of his God.

Third, David went out to kill Goliath with equipment he was accustomed to using when he was in battle. Saul tried to give David his equipment but David declined because Saul’s equipment didn’t fit David; it was not designed for the type of fighting David was used to doing.

There are things that God has told, or will tell, you do to that looks like someone else is better qualified to do, but they don’t have what it takes. They don’t have the heart, the passion or the resolve to do what God needs to have done. That’s why He’s asked, or will ask, you to do it!

You have everything you need to do what God has asked, or will ask, you to do. You have the history, the internal resolve and the equipment you need to get it done!

Oh yes, there is one more thing about David that should be admired and imitated; he didn’t procrastinate! He went out to kill Goliath right away. He didn’t give himself or anyone else time to talk him out of it.

When God asked us to do something we need to move out quickly and go with what we know!

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4:17

 

 

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Be Careful

No evil trio

 

Luke 6:45

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

When I was a child there was a song that our children’s choir sang that said, “Be careful little eyes what you see. Be careful little eyes what you see. For the Father up above is looking down with love. So be careful little eyes what you see.” The song went on to warn ears to be careful what they hear and little tongues to be careful what they say. I don’t know if children choirs still sing this song in most churches today, but I think they should because this song is correct in its warnings.

What we take in through our eye and ear gates is going to be what we put into our hearts and what comes out through our mouths!

If you know someone with a nasty attitude or a sour disposition and you HATE talking to them because you know they are going to be negative, nasty or uncooperative, it is because they have taken in nasty, negative uncooperative things. Jesus said it best in the above quoted scripture. We act, respond and deal with other people and things based on what’s in our hearts.

We take in so much without really thinking about it. We watch all types of TV shows, “The Have and Have Nots”, “Devious Maids, “Scandal”, “Modern Family”, “Blacklist” “Empire” and the list goes on and on. Do we ever stop and think about what we’re really taking into our hearts and minds? Do we really stop and think about the type of lifestyles we’re cheering for while we watch our favorite shows?

We read and watch all types of videos and stories on-line. We watch and read stories of people fighting each other in the street, bullies mistreating other people at school, teachers being hit and beat while they are trying to teach their classes, near pornographic dance moves and again, the list goes on and on. And we sit there looking and listening, in taking without thinking that these images and words are going to manifest themselves in us at one time or another.

I know I’m guilty of leaving of eye and ear gates open to feeding my heart ungodliness. So how about you? What are you taking in through your eye and ear gates?

“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10

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Out of the Box

Created Chosen Called

August 12, 2015

Genesis 1:26

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

When I purchase a rose for my garden, I have a plan. I know where I’m going to put the rose, the nutrient levels I need the soil to possess and how to feed, water and protect the rose until its root system stabilizes in its new environment. I have a plan that the rose doesn’t know anything about.

The rose is shipped to me in a plain brown cardboard box. There is nothing in the box with the rose except other bare root roses that I may have purchased at the same time. If I purchased a single rose, it is in the box by itself.

I can only image how the rose must feel when I plant it in its new place. It goes from being in a dark empty box without soil or water into an open air space with at least six hours of sunlight, soil, vitamins and food. What a shock to its fragile system!

I’m sure if my roses could complain they would. They have probably become use to living in the dark bareness of the box but, in order to live, the rose must have the sun, soil, water and food, things that the roses can’t get while in the box. So, they may have become accustom to living in the box, if they stay there, they will die.

Yes, God does the same thing to and for us. You and I ask God for growth; financial, spiritual or personal growth so we can do more, have more or become more for the Kingdom of God. He answers our prayers and responses to our request. He begins to move us from our dark and confining boxes to new places where we can grow. And what do we do? We complain!

We wanted to grow where we were, in the confines of the boxes we have put ourselves in! We don’t want to change, we don’t want other things to change, we don’t want to do anything different, and we just want to grow where we are. Sorry! It doesn’t work that way!

God did not create us to be confined to dark, lifeless boxes. He created us to live in His Son and in the sun. What does that mean? It means God created us to live our spiritual lives in the light, soil and be feed by the life of His son AND to live our natural lives in the abundance here on earth. God never designed us to live in lack or less than. Neither in this life nor the one to come.

In order for us to grow, God has to move us to a place where the totality of who we are can be used and displaced as we experience new things. God is taking out of our boxes because He wants us to live and not die in the dark empty lives so many of us are now living.

Yes, it’s time to come out of your box!

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” II Corinthians 9:10

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You Were Chosen

Picked out

 

Matthew 22:14

For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

When I chose a rose for my garden, I don’t pick it based on one characteristics of the rose; I pick it based on the totality of the rose. So not only do I pick a rose based on its color, I chose it on how the blooms are going to look. Will the blooms have lots and lots of petals or just a few?  I chose it based on the fragrance; is it lightly fragranced or is it heavily fragranced?  Does it smell like honey or does it smell like a traditional rose?

I also look at the type of leaves the rose is going to have. Will the leaves be bright green and shiny or will they be a matted green? I also look at the stem of the roses; will they be long-stemmed so I can use the rose in a single rose vase or will they be short stemmed so I can use them in an arrangement?

So you see, everything that the rose is goes into my decision-making process of whether or not I’m going to plant the rose in my garden. Yes, each facet of the rose is important, but one piece without the others doesn’t make the rose what it really is. It is the totality of the rose plant that makes the rose what I want in my garden.

God does the same thing with us. When God chooses us to do a particular assignment He chooses us based on the totality of who we are; our temperament, the things that we’ve gone through in order to bring us to the place where we are now, our looks, our background and upbringing. All these things make us who we are and are the reasons God chooses us for our assignments.

Unfortunately, all too often we look at ourselves through the eyes of the world system and only see what we think the world sees when it looks at us. The world system says over and over again, we have to be super model thin in order to be considered worthy of being called attractive. The world system says we have to be rich or famous in order to be counted amount those whom others should listen to. The world system says we have to be educated with the right type of degrees and from the right schools or we’ll be outsiders and not allowed to join them at the popular table. But, no matter what the world tells us, it does not stop God from doing what He’s going to do and it shouldn’t stop us from doing what God has assigned us to do.

If God has given you an assignment, and He has given us all an assignment, what the world system says about you doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. When God gave each of us our assignments, He has already measured the totality of who we are and He knows we can successfully complete the assignment.

The world system only knows the labels it has placed on us. God knows who He created us to be.

 

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” I Corinthians 1:27

 

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Prayer for Today

Man with bills

 

August 6, 2016

Father, I know so many people who are suffering financially right now. I know for some people their financial problems are their own making; over spending, using their credit cards without a plan or a thought and being a glutton when it comes to material things.

For others Lord, their financial problems came about because of loss of job, downsized salary, college for their children, or maybe for themselves, divorce or illness. No matter the reason for the financial stress and stretch they find themselves in, I pray that You will deliver them out of everyone.

We know when we go after money rather than coming after You, and Your will for our lives, we show a love of money, which is the root of all evil. This is because we know that You will supply all our needs according to the riches of Your glory in Jesus Christ. We know that Your word says that money answers all things, but we are to seek Your kingdom first, and everything else we need will be added to us.

Father, in the midst of the financial pressures that Your people are experiencing, please help us stay focused on You and Your will for our lives. Our hope is in You. We need You to be true to Your word and provide us as only You can. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Scripture references:

Ecclesiastes 10:19

I Timothy 6:10

Philippians 4:19

Matthew 6:33

 

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The Same but Different

cropped-julians-pix-6691.jpg

James 1:13 – 15

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

I have a dozen roses in my front yard. I basically care for each of them the same way; I feed and water them at the same time, clip them when they need it and make sure the soil nutrient levels are correct. I care for them equally.

My Double Delight rose, which is pictured above, is right at my front door because it’s beautiful and has a strong honey sweet aroma. When you walk up to my door and Double Delight is in bloom, the last thing you smell before you come into my house is the sweet fragrance of the rose. YUMMY!

The problem with the Double Delight is it is susceptible to black spots and yellow leaves. It is so susceptible to the disease that I have to pay special attention to the rose all summer because if I allow the disease a little room it will destroy every leaf on the Double Delight and defoliate the rose completely.

Right next to the Double Delight I have the John F. Kennedy rose; which is beautiful too but in a very different way than the Double Delight. The John F. Kennedy rose is not susceptible to black spots or yellow leaves but, Japanese Beatles LOVE the John F. Kennedy but they don’t really care for the Double Delight. So, even though the two roses are sitting right next to each other in the garden, they have too different challenges that I have to content with in order to keep them alive and healthy.

It is the same way for us in the Body of Christ. We have been engrafted into the Body of Christ by His redemptive blood and His finished work on the cross. We have been made spiritual siblings and yet, we are all tempted and drawn away from God by our own temptations.

What tempts you to turn away from your relationship with Christ may not bother me at all and what tempts me may not cause you to think about it twice. You see, just like my roses, we are individuals with different challenges, needs and desires. Coming to Christ doesn’t make us clones, it makes us saved. We are still the people we were before our salvation.

Our struggles are the same, our issues are the same, our aptitudes are the same, and the things we are susceptible to are the same. The difference is how we handle the struggles and the issues. The difference is how we handle the temptations. We are all the same; we all have struggles, issues and temptations but we are all different in how we handle them. None of us have any room to throw stones at someone else.

This is why we can’t judge someone else’s walk in Christ. We can’t judge how God is using them, or not, when or how. We don’t know all the particulars in that person life. Only God knows that and He is the one that directs the steps of us all.

One reason I love gardening is because flowers don’t have the ability to look over at another flower and try to compare themselves, whether for better or for worse. They don’t have the ability to see what I’m doing to one plant that I may not be doing to or for them. There is no envy or jealousy between plants like there often is between people.

While we are all the same in Christ because God is not a respecter of person, we are all very different and He treats us different according to His call on our lives.

 

“But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.” Galatians 6:4

 

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Prayer for Today

 

C S Lewis Quote

June 30, 2015

Father, at the beginning of the year, we made plans, set time lines and set goals for what we wanted to achieve this year. As we look at our plans we see some plans are behind the schedule we had set or some things we wanted to do have not been done at all. These realizations can cause us to feel like failures or to feel like we’ve not obtained everything we’ve been pursuing and, if we’re not careful; these feelings will cause us to give up. Remind us that our plans must take a backseat to the plans You have for us. Nothing we’ve planned is better than what You have already ordained.

Everything is not going to go the way we’ve planned, but we’re sure that everything will go the way You’ve ordained. Help us mature to a point that, when what You’ve ordained overrides our plans; we do not fret, complain or grumble. Instead, we rejoice knowing that You have our best interest at heart.

You planned our perfect path long ago and You know what’s best for us. You will perfect us until we fit into Your perfect plan. Thank You Lord for caring so much about us that You planned for our greatness. Therefore; we press towards the higher calling, which is in Christ Jesus!

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Scripture References:

Proverbs 19:21

Psalms 65:9

Isaiah 25:1

Philippians 3:14

 

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They’re Baaack!!!

 

Ephesians 6 12

Romans 6:6 – 7

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”

It’s easy for me to get discouraged when I’m doing something new and old problems, issues and even some old people seem to pop up in the midst of my new stuff. It’s just like weeds popping up in my yard in the same places that I’ve evicted them no too long ago. The truth is I evicted them but I couldn’t eradicate them.

I worked hard to get rid of the weeds and grass from my new rose bed. I dug, pulled and trenched around the new bed so I could remove the unwanted stuff and keep it out. Unfortunately, after a heavy rain, the weeds are back and the grass is trying to return to where it used to live.

I looked out the window of my home office and saw weeds and grass growing and all I could think was, “they’re baaack!!!”

I was feeling sad, frustrated, let down and discouraged. All my heard work down the drain, then, I resigned myself to the truth; this is going to be an ongoing battle, not a one time effort. So, I went out, grabbed my garden tools and headed to the yard. This means war!!!

The same scenario is true when we start obeying God and begin to live our lives according to His will. We dig up doubt, fear, concerns about money, unforgiveness, past pains and disappointments. We dig up the pain of hurt feelings, envy and jealousy, guilt and shame. We pull them out, remove and evict them from the soil of our hearts with fasting, prayer, reading and studying God’s Word. We think we’re good, and then one day something or someone sends rain on our lives. Before we know it, we are battling the same weeds we removed from our lives because we evicted them but did not eradicate them.

We must resign ourselves to this truth: This is a never-ending battle! We will continue to contend with fear, doubt, guilt, shame, etc. as long as we live in these bodies. The good news is we have already won the war through our relationship with Jesus Christ.

So grab your spiritual gardening tools; your Bible, your favorite Christian authors’ books and Bible studies. Turn down your plate or, turn off the television or your computer and get to work clearing out those weeds. This means war!!!

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

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No Longer Needed

 

Uprooted Grass

Isaiah 43:18 – 19

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

 

Three more days of digging in my backyard! My back, legs and arms are all sore and I’m not done yet! The weeds are out, for now, and the roses are in place but, I have to battle the grass that I have removed and displaced.

When I decided to put the roses in the back yard not only did I have to remove the weeds, but I had to remove the grass that had been growing there for years. Unlike the weeds, the grass had been needed and wanted in that area of the backyard but now, its services are no longer needed. The grasses usefulness has run its course and it’s time for it to go.

The grass, unlike the weeds, was not a bad thing; it’s just no longer useful in the area where I planted my roses. Grass is useful in other places, just not with my roses.

This is how it is with our lives. There comes a time when things and people who were needed in our lives are no longer needed AND, sometimes, we are no longer needed in someone else’s life.

When God starts doing new things in our lives, He replaces the old stuff with new things and sometimes, He replaces old people with new people who can help us get where God is taking us or can help us mature so we can move forward to the next place God has for us. The old stuff can only keep us where we are, it cannot help us grow into the people God has for us to become.

Some people take an exception to the concept of letting go of things and people that/who are no longer useful fixtures in our lives. But, let me put it this way, if you have a friend who is still doing all the things you are trying to get away from or trying to leave behind as you press to be more like Christ, can you still hang out with them AND achieve your goal? If you have someone in your life who is happy and content with just enough to get by but you want God’s promise of abundance, can you still hold on to them AND receive your abundance?

To move out of the old and into the new takes work! To leave behind that which we have grown accustom to in order to become something more than we are today takes diligence, dedication and determination. Can we take the old with us as we change and progress in our lives and walk with Christ? The Bible states, “No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.” Mark 2:21 – 22.

What do you say?

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Stop, Drop and Roll

stop drop and roll

June 9, 2015

Matthew 6:31 – 32

”’So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat? Or What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”’

Sometimes, just trying to do the right thing can be stressful! Have you ever been in a spiritual place in your life where your only goal was to please God and fulfill His purpose for your life? Doesn’t it seem like everything stands in your way or blocks your path to getting where you want to go? You just want God to stop the madness and just let you do what you want to do. It can be so frustrating!

Then, you see a clear path to get you where you want to go. You take the path only to realize it’s under construction- something has to be fixed or repaired in order for you to use the path to get where you want to go. Your credit score has to be fixed, your GPA has to be repaired or something else has to happen before you can take the path! Now, you’re irritated!

I’ve learned in times like these to Stop! Drop! And Roll! I stop what I’m doing, I drop to my knees and I roll my cares, concerns, irritations and frustrations onto Jesus.

I stop what I’m doing because obviously God wants me to do something else or, I’m working in my own strength and leaning on my own understanding and not allowing God, through the Holy Spirit, to direct my path (Proverbs 3:3 – 5).

I drop to my knees, maybe not physically but spiritually, because I need to humble myself under God so he can guide me and teach me His ways (Psalm 25:9).

I roll my cares; financial, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual cares onto Jesus because He cares about everything that concerns me (I Peter 5:6 – 7).

So, if you’re in a place where you need something fixed, repaired and reconstructed I suggest you stop stressing and stop what you’re doing, drop to your knees and pray,  and while you’re in prayer, roll the issues, circumstances or situations off your shoulders and onto Jesus’ shoulders. He carried the cross for us; surely He can care this too.

 

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