Giant Faith

1 Samuel 17:23-37 NLT — As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, came out from the Philistine ranks. Then David heard him shout his usual taunt to the army of Israel. As soon as the Israelite army saw him, they began to run away in fright. “Have you seen the giant?” the men asked. “He comes out each day to defy Israel. The king has offered a huge reward to anyone who kills him. He will give that man one of his daughters for a wife, and the man’s entire family will be exempted from paying taxes!” David asked the soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel? Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” And these men gave David the same reply. They said, “Yes, that is the reward for killing him.”

Instead of running away from what we say or think we cannot handle, we need to call upon His strength, wisdom, and resources.

When we run, we are doing the same as Saul and the entire Israelite army. We whine like them, helping each other justify our wallowing in self pity and confusion. We gossip and waste time, talking about our lack in abilities. We concentrate on and speak of, our weaknesses individually and as a whole, then, feeding on each other’s growing fear, we enlarge our enemy with in our minds.

We trap ourselves in the mountains of no way, no chance, no future, no help, no hope.

Then just like they did to young David, if someone comes along asking why we’re acting like this, we shut them down and try to put them in their place, trying to make them feel as small as we are acting.

But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. “What are you doing around here anyway?” he demanded. “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!” “What have I done now?” David replied. “I was only asking a question!” He walked over to some others and asked them the same thing and received the same answer. Then David’s question was reported to King Saul, and the king sent for him. “Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!” “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The LORD who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”

Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the LORD be with you!”

Unwittingly, we block the faith we need to remove our giants. We don’t just block either,  No, we do our best Wto knock it down, stomp it into a pancake, pick it up, and whisk it away like a Frisbee. Who are you to tell me, we say, as we puff out our chest and tower over the help God sent to take away the giant we helped create.

Why do we choose to be defeated and keep company with others who choose defeat, while mocking and jealously making a joke out of those who choose not to ever give up. Those who choose faith over forfeit.

1 Samuel 17:40-49 NLT — He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine. Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled. David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the LORD rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the LORD’s battle, and he will give you to us!” As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground.

Our giant may not be a Philistine giant named Goliath, maybe it’s the lack of patience, for an unruly child, who is always disrespectful and mean, or, it could be giving ourselves  over to self-pity, as the sting of life’s lemons, catch us off guard, seaping into our sores, from watching the lazy get handed what we work so hard for, on a silver platter.

It could be that the giant we face is called self-righteousness or pride. Maybe our lack of self control, when we cannot bring ourselves to submit to the authority of someone who knows so much less than we do, by a long shot.

Sometimes our giant is trying to defend ourselves from the lies of those who falsely testify against us.

No matter what name our giants may go by, when we try to battle them on our own, we come out defeated, tired, confused, and sore. Because of the hell we go through, and the battle scars we obtain, from going out to battle on our own, we often get angry when confronted with the Truth of God’s word and we reject it, run from it, twist it or turn it while at the same time, shoot with the intent to kill the messenger.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT — Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We neglect to realize, God knows we are not capable of handling our own giants, much less anyone else’s, still we are called to battle both. We just weren’t called to battle them, with our own strength.

Exodus 14:14 NLT — The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Until next time, may God-bless you and keep you, as you seek him, with your whole heart.

Puzzle pieces

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about puzzles. More specifically a 40,000 piece puzzle that is the Guinness book of world records largest puzzle in the world. This puzzle is the largest in both the amount of pieces and it’s overall size. The part of this puzzle that has me thinking though, is the number of pieces. 40,000 pieces needing to find their place in the big picture.

With that many pieces one might entertain the thought that one or two pieces aren’t such a big deal if they happened to go missing.. keeping track of 40,000 pieces sounds almost overtime payish.

One piece of a puzzle won’t even give someone an idea of what the picture will be once all the pieces are put together.  Having just one piece of the whole puzzle is useless really as it cannot be the whole puzzle even if it wanted to be.  That piece has its one place within the whole, where it is vital to the whole.  If that one piece decided to go it’s own way getting lost, thinking it’s no big deal or unimportant, would ruin the masterpiece for without it the whole would be void in the spot that piece was to take up. Furthermore that piece is not replaceable either. No other piece can or will fit into it’s rightful place.

As I ponder this I am drawn to the idea, what if life was like this. What if God has this masterpiece in mind as He creates each and every piece to fit together, each having it’s own unique shape and each being equally important to the finished project. He’s skillfully and masterfully knit every single human together while in the womb, giving to each a uniqueness that only they can contribute and nobody can take the place of.

We are all just pieces to the whole puzzle. We are meant to fit together, each in our own unique way.

This is not really a new thought, in scripture Paul puts it this way,

1 Corinthians 12:14-27 NLT — Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

Selfishness, self-pity, self-righteousness, all focus on self.  So long as the focus is on self, it cannot also be on service.

The world has made popular the idea that we should be focused on self, like self improvement, self-confidence, self-help, self-esteem, self-acceptance, self-love, etc. All examples of the worldly idea that we need to focus on ourselves.

All around us are the messages, feeding into our minds and hearts, causing us to believe this concentration on self is right.   We are all searching for inner peace, love, and a place to just rest. When focus is on self, no matter what side of the scale, from self-pity to self-righteousness, we are in a constant state of restlessness, anxiety, always standing ready to defend.  We build up walls inside ourselves as part of our defense readiness, having no idea, the walls, once built, won’t allow the bad in, but won’t allow the good in either.   We starve ourselves of the very thing we are seeking, all because we have given into the feel-good, worldly, idea that we should concentrate on ourselves.

The problem is, we were not created for this.   Self, is lonely, isolating, non-community, it’s all take and little to no give.  We were created in the image of  All Mighty God, to be parts of a whole, to fit like puzzle pieces together.  

The enemy doesn’t want us to know we are but one simple piece.  He wants to destroy the puzzle, of course he will most deceptively, by the use of our emotions and lack of true wisdom, give us every reason to continue believing we, individually, are the whole.

We seem to all try to fit ourselves into spots that make us like those we admire or like those we respect. We work hard to prove ourselves worthy of the spots we desire to fit into. The truth is only one might actually fit in that spot. The rest are faking, camouflaged, mimicking, etc.

We all go through this life trying to find our place, a place with people like us, where we feel like we fit in. We look for like-mindedness, hobbies in common, similar interests and ways of living.

We then pass judgement in one form or another upon those who are not living up to our standards. Some may try to use religion or Christian principles as justification for being able to point out wrong doing in others.

We try to hide our true selves just in case we won’t be accepted.

The truth is instead of searching for what makes us the same as, or at least makes us resemble others, we should search for what makes us unique, different, special. We should be looking for our place in the big picture. At the same time we should be encouraging others to find their uniqueness also.

Instead of shunning people that may be different we should be accepting, learning, encouraging, celebrating what makes us individuals.

If we are to mimic Jesus, we need to learn how to serve and accept others regardless of what society and the world try to tell us.

We are all just one piece to the whole puzzle. All equal in significance, all having our own special, uniqueness to contribute to the whole.

Find your unique, be it, own it, show it off because you are special, important, fearfully and wonderfully made, most of all, you are dearly loved by your Creator!

Until next time may God bless you and keep you as you seek Him with your whole heart.

 

Top ten reasons why God is a better pilot over my life.

Top 10 reasons why God is the better pilot over my life.

10. Father God is capable of administering the right amount of discipline as He is not swayed either direction by emotions. I tend to go easy on myself or make things harder. Love for myself is often bipolar, I am not capable of treating me the way He can and will.

Reference – Psalm 119:75 NLT

9.Father God knows all of us better than we know ourselves, and while I, when dealing with people, can mistake their words, actions, intentions and motives, He knows their true motives and thoughts.

Reference- Romans 8:27-28 NLT

8.Father God is not bound by a body as I am. He is omnipresent and has a way better view from his vantage point.

Reference-  Jeremiah 23:24 NLT

7. God lives in the past present and future. He can see where I’m going and He is not bound by time. He’s the alpha and the Omega the beginning and end. He can see my past, present, and future all at the same time.

Reference- Revelation 1:8 NLT

6. God makes my path less burdened, stressful, and traumatic. When in control of myself, I tend to get myself into loads of drama.

Reference-  Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

5. As I listen to His voice, He leads me away from unnecessary trials, hardships and heartaches. He allows me to go through only that which has the ability to produce a change in my character that will glorify Him. On my own this process tends to keep repeating with little to no progress in moving forward.

Reference- Psalm 32:8 NLT

4.  God created everything and everything is His, yet because of His goodness and mercy for me, He takes care of all my needs. I tend to rob Peter to pay Paul without Him.

Reference-  Matthew 6:31-33 NLT

3. God knows me so intimately because he created me. Even I can’t number the hairs on my head, but He can.

Reference-  Luke 12:7 NLT

2. Without Him, I am a roller coaster of emotions.  With Him, I enjoy tranquility, while experiencing the peace, no matter my circumstances, that passes understanding, and I’m given the joy of the Lord as my strength.

Philippians 4:6-7 NLT — Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And my number one reason is because Father God loved me so much, He gave His only begotten son, so that if I believe in Him I will not perish but have eternal life. Without Him I am dead from my transgressions. With Him, I am redeemed.

John 3:16 NLT — “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,  moved heaven and earth, pulled out all the stops, Left no stone unturned, dotted every I and crossed every t, leaving nothing left to do in order to have a real relationship with me. There is only one thing that He couldn’t do, and so was left up to me. I had to decide to choose Him. And you can bet I absolutely did, and in so doing realized Father God makes a much better pilot over my life than I make.

Until next time may God bless you and keep you as you seek Him with your whole heart.

 

Wandering closet stuffers

In today’s society we are not really just desert walker’s, like the Israelites. No, we seem to be more like closet stuffers.

Joshua 5:6 NLT — The Israelites had traveled in the wilderness for forty years until all the men who were old enough to fight in battle when they left Egypt had died. For they had disobeyed the LORD, and the LORD vowed he would not let them enter the land he had sworn to give us—a land flowing with milk and honey.

See the Israelites wondered 40 years in the desert after gaining their freedom from Egyptian captivity.  All because they chose to stay within the box of their victim mentality. They participated in the physical liberation but refused liberation of their minds and hearts. For the most part they were born into captivity and so were slaves their whole lives, so it stands to reason then, their minds and hearts were basically programmed as victims because of their captivity. Maybe they heard stories of the days their people were free, days in which they were not oppressed, stories that seemed probably like fairy tales as they faced their current daily circumstances.  Fact is, they as a whole cried out to God, knowing only an act of God would bring about even the possibility of ever being free.

Then, one day they watched, as God freed them from the Egyptians. They crossed the parted Red Sea, they followed the smoke cloud of God, and they ate daily, the manna God Himself provided each morning.

No matter how much proof they had through signs and wonders God performed before their very eyes, they just couldn’t free their minds and hearts. God led them out of captivity but they lacked the faith needed to break the chains of the victim mentality they habitually lived in. As I think on their journey, I’m of the opinion they had to have been literally making an effort not to trust in God. I guess I just can’t see, how a whole generation of people, could see miracles with their very own eyes, and then forget they happened before they breathe their next breath.

Either way I’d say they were complaining, selfish, desert wanderers. Just like I myself have been on numerous occasions.

I have often referred to in my life, when I am reluctantly going through trials and struggles meant to bring about change within me, as my desert time.

Truth is, although as practicing Christians, the time wandering the desert of change is necessary, these days we have become expert at knowing what people want from us and performing based on their desire and or requirements, even when we disagree. That fake it till you make it mentality. We stuff ourselves into the closet while we seek the approval of others, whether that be for a job, social group, family, or even a marriage. Our true self stays locked in the closet only allowed to come out once in awhile when no one is around to witness it. Some of us try to forget about what we locked away and so try to become the person we are portraying to the world that we are.

The problem is, we can’t actually become anything other than who we are unless we change as a whole. The neglected, locked away, forgotten about, part of who we are, is needed in order to bring about true change within ourselves. Doesn’t mean we have to like that part of ourselves, doesn’t mean we have to embrace that part of ourselves either. It just means we have to accept that part of ourselves as being part of who we are. Just because we may not like it and no matter how much we wish it wasn’t so, doesn’t allow us to just pluck it out like unwanted eyebrows.

Change is a process. True change happens when we are totally committed to said change. To be serious and committed to change it takes all of who we are, the parts we like and those we don’t like or even want to admit.

When we are born, we are; taught to cry in order to alert our parents or caregiver of a need, such as a wet diaper or hunger, or a want, such as being held and cuddled. We are taught, in a sense, to be selfish. We want or we need, therefore demand with a cry, and quickly receive.

Then once we have grown up to toddler age, we get the shock of our lives. At least the little bit of life we have at that point lived.

We get told no!!!

In essence, no  means the world no longer revolves around us. You see prior to our first being told no, all our wants and needs have been quickly met once demanded.

Now, we get told no, and so we cry, to no avail. Our cry no longer gets the desired results. A battle begins, as we fight for our way and our parents or caregiver fight for our understanding that the world no longer revolves around us.

There was a season in our lives, from birth until toddler, where the world needed to revolve around us. It was just that, a season of time, once that season of time came to an end, we had to be taught the world no longer revolved around us, hence the move into a new season of our lives.  

Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT — For everything there is a season, A time for every activity under heaven.

Sometimes, moving into this new season is difficult no matter how old we get. When we’re being taught, from that toddler age on, that the world no longer revolves around us, it is hard to understand because all we ever knew was that the world did revolve around us. All we had to do was cry out to be comforted or taken care of.  Now in this new season, we find out there are hard lessons to learn that can cause heartache and tears. Lessons that teach us how to survive in a world that in fact, does not, revolve around us.  It is not that our parents or caregiver means to punish us or cause us pain, they just have to teach us, so that we don’t end up with worse pain.  So they show us the right way, even though it is hard to learn.

Just because something was allowed in one season of our lives, doesn’t mean that we will be able to have it in the next season, or even the season after that.  It means, that we needed it for the season that is finished, and we may not be allowed it in the season to come. It was there for a purpose and the purpose was now gone. The very first season of our lives, from birth to toddler, it is needed for us to believe that the world in fact, revolves around us, so that we will ask for our desire and need. Once we have passed the season in which we need to cry out, that world revolving around us mentality, is no longer needed and so we now, must be taught, what we need for the next season of our lives while learning to let go of the previous season.

The Israelites couldn’t let go of their season of slavery and so could never embrace the season of The promised Land.

We, even though we try to forget the closet part of ourselves, will make decisions with that part in mind. If we truly don’t want to continue being haunted by the parts of us we feel ashamed of or that we ourselves don’t like, we first have to face it, understand just because it’s something within ourselves doesn’t mean we can’t hate it and choose to change it. It’s just until we admit it and allow ourselves to hate it we can’t change it. To truly change and make the change stick we first have to change our heart. To change our heart we only have to change our mind.

We need to understand that having a desire to change a part of who we are, is in no way, a decision that we aren’t good enough, or that we aren’t worthy, etc. Etc., when in comparison to others in this world. It does give us wisdom in that we are less than worthy of God’s love.  The fact that we have the ability because of Jesus to notice a way in us that just doesn’t seem to fit the righteousness of God, tells how wise, humble, and worthy we really are.

Hiding ourselves stuffed in a closet only causes a rollercoaster of trying and failing change. Acceptance of everything about us, after taking a real honest look at what we have hidden, will allow us to confess our knowledge of it and then decide to hate it and ultimately, opening the door to true change.

This is what repentance does for us. Father God already knows the closet part of us.

Romans 5:8 CSB — But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We may be able to fool other people, but we cannot fool God,  Who sees all and even though He sees all, still loves us so much that He sent his son to die for us, that we might be reconciled to Him. Repentance allows this so long as we are looking truthfully and honestly at who we really are.

Psalm 32:5 NLT — Finally, I confessed all my sins to you And stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

Closet stuffing and wandering in the wilderness are traps the enemy sets to blind us from moving into our new season. The enemy doesn’t want us to know we have graduated. The enemy will stop at nothing to steal our hope, kill our joy and destroy our faith.

The Lord Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah as we read in,

Luke 4:18-19 NLT — “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, For he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, That the blind will see, That the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.”

We may choose to stay trapped by the enemies lies but the absolute truth is, we don’t have to! We can claim our freedom as we were bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus! Victory is ours because the battle is the Lord’s!!

Until next time may God bless you and keep you as you seek Him with your whole heart!

 

Discarded

My tree is full of fruit,

people pick to eat.

The fruit I bare,

so they say,

is heart warming and sweet.

Gentleness and kindness,

joyfulness and love,

patience and understanding,

people never get enough.

My fruit is disappearing,

no one seems to care,

they’ll no longer have the fruit,

from the tree they love to share.

I’ve been blown in the breeze,

I’ve been left out in the cold,

I’ve been trampled in the dirt,

now my fruit begins to mold.