YOUR GOLIATH!

GOLIATH WAS A GIANT!  The writer of I Samuel details it this way:  “The Philistines had a champion fighter from Gath named Goliath. He was about nine feet, four inches tall. He came out of the Philistine camp with a bronze helmet on his head and a coat of bronze armor that weighed about one hundred twenty-five pounds. He wore bronze protectors on his legs, and he had a bronze spear on his back. The wooden part of his larger spear was like a weaver’s rod, and its blade weighed about fifteen pounds. The officer who carried his shield walked in front of him.”

‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭17:4-7‬ ‭(ncv)

The army of God was on one hill and the enemy was on another hill with a valley in between. For 40 days Goliath came out in the open and cursed God and ridiculed the Israeli army. The entire army of Israel was intimidated and scared.

ENTER DAVID!  A kid, maybe still in his teens.  A slingshot and 5 little rock’s; oh, and El Shaddai the Great God Almighty who can!  His brothers were embarrassed that he showed up and tried to get him to leave. David’s answer was, “What have I now done? Is there not a cause?”
‭‭1 Samuel 17:29 (kjv)

Goliath came out again cursing making fun of David, but “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—… whom you have defied.”
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭17:45‬ ‭(nlt)

WHAM AND SHAZZAM!  Goliath became a crumbling piece of lifeless human flesh.

So I have a question for you: Are you facing a Goliath in your life?  It may be financial, health, emotional, marriage, children, addiction, spiritual.  Maybe you’re scared. God has a “David” waiting for you!

“Listen to the Lord who created you,  .… The one who formed you says, “DO NOT BE AFRAID, FOR I HAVE RANSOMED YOU!   I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” ‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:1-3‬ ‭(nlt)

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BROKEN

I CAME CLOSE TO GIVING UP!

Time and again I cried out to God. Satan crushed me into the dirt, but God said to me, “This isn’t the end.  My grace is sufficient.”  But I persisted by singing,

🎼🎶🎹

“Precious Lord, take my hand

Lead me on, let me stand

I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m lone

Through the storm, through the night

Lead me on to the light

Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home.”

(Thomas A. Dorsey)

“Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (msg)

The best thing that ever happened to me was when God allowed me to be broken.

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“When I am swept by the tempests of life,

Jesus is all I need.

Peace He imparts, whatsoever the strife.

Jesus is all I need.

“All that I need He will always be,

All that I need till His face I see,

All that I need thro’ eternity.

Jesus is all I need.”

(James Rowe)

TATTOO HIS NAME

NOPE! TATTOOS ARE NOT MY CUP OF TEA.  SEEMS THAT SUDDENLY, all over the place, our younger generation has tattoos. I saw an old codger – wrinkled and everything (‘bout my age) – with tattoos all over his arms and neck.  Then I read  Isaiah 49:16 (kjv)
“Behold, I have engraved thee upon the palms of my hands; ….”
‭‭Next, I was shocked how the Living Bible (paraphrase) translates it.
“See, I have “TATTOOED”‭ your name upon my palms ….”
MORE COMPLETELY THE NIV SAYS:  “Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.  “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; ….”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭49:13, 16‬
Jesus “‘said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  STOP DOUBTING AND BELIEVE.’”
‭‭John‬ ‭20:27‬ ‭(niv)

DOES GOD HAVE A ZAPPER?

LET’S GET THIS CLEAR: GOD DOES NOT “CAUSE” EVIL!  HE DOES NOT HAVE A ZAPPER THAT SHOOTS DOWN A LIGHTENING BOLT SIMPLY TO SEE HOW YOU SQUIRM.  

We live in a fallen world! To fully understand what happened in the eons of time before the earth was created is above my pay-grade … and your’s, too.  But this we know:

“when God created he “looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!”

Genesis 1:31

Human beings allowed themselves to be deceived by “wrong theology” – [so to speak]. 

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The Woman said to the serpent, ‘Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’”

Genesis 3:2-3 (msg)

“The serpent told the Woman, ‘You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.’”

Genesis 3:4-5 (msg)

Does anyone know how, what, when or why Satan rebelled against God?  No!  Apart from the Holy Bible we know very little, but speaking of Satan, Isaiah 14:12 says, ‘How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!’”  And Isaiah indicates in vv. 13 & 14 that this fallen angel wanted himself to be something more than an angel through pride.  “You said to yourself, ‘I’ll climb to heaven. I’ll set my throne over the stars of God. I’ll run the assembly of angels that meets on sacred Mount Zaphon. I’ll climb to the top of the clouds. I’ll take over as King of the Universe!’”  PRIDE!

Isaiah 14:13-14 (msg)

A shallow reading seems like God causes evil and makes bad things happen like an evil genius. 

IT. WAS. SIN. and DISOBEDIENCE, NOT GOD’S PLAN! 

God’s sense of justice demanded he give humans the freedom to choose.  Otherwise, he would simply be a celestial puppeteer.  So Eve chose to give in. 

“‘The serpent seduced me,” she said, ‘and I ate.’”

Genesis 3:13 (msg)

“GOD told the serpent: ‘Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed, cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals, Cursed to slink on your belly and eat dirt all your life. I’m declaring war between you and the Woman, between your offspring and hers. He’ll wound your head, you’ll wound his heel.’

He told the Woman: ‘I’ll multiply your pains in childbirth; you’ll give birth to your babies in pain. You’ll want to please your husband, but he’ll lord it over you.’ He told the Man: ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from, ‘Don’t eat from this tree,’ the very ground is cursed because of you; getting food from the ground will be as painful as having babies is for your wife; you’ll be working in pain all your life long. The ground will sprout thorns and weeds, you’ll get your food the hard way, planting and tilling and harvesting, sweating in the fields from dawn to dusk, until you return to that ground yourself, dead and buried; you started out as dirt, you’ll end up dirt.’”

Genesis 3:14-19 (msg)

God didn’t cause Adam and Eve to receive bad things.  It was a volitional choice on their part. 

Therefore, in this fallen world Jesus [God in human flesh] says, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

Matthew 5:45 (niv)

This world is set in motion with immutable laws of the universe; some visible and some invisible; some tangible and some spiritual. 

Does God always protect us in all circumstances?  No! 

Does God heal all diseases?  No!

Does he give us answers to everything?  No! 

Is this an exhaustive study answering all questions about the subject?  No!

But this we know: His eternal, everlasting love will be manifested in all things.  He will not always protect you from cancer, but your faith in him will bring you a joy you have never known and bless people around you, maybe to their salvation. 

As with  HORATIO G. SPAFFORD.  Successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago.  Wonderful family.   Living a beautiful life. Then, his son died with pneumonia in 1871.  Later that year,  the great Chicago fire occurred and he lost his business. In 1873, his wife and their four young daughters took an ocean liner to Europe.  Mr. Spafford was to join them later.  Four days into the crossing of the Atlantic, an accident caused the ship to sink and all four children drowned.  Mrs. Spafford was found hanging on to some debris.  Later, they had another son who also died. Through these awful tragedies and sufferings, Mr. Spafford wrote:      🎼🎶

“When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll,

Whatever my lot, 

Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

“Though Satan should buffet,

Tho’ trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, 

And hath shed his own blood for my soul.

“It is well (it is well) 

with my soul, (with my soul),

It is well, it is well with my soul.”

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7

What’s Your Story?

EVERYONE HAS A STORY. THERE ARE GIVERS AND THERE ARE TAKERS, the gave-uppers and the overcomers. There are those who suffered great tragedy, those who committed great sin, but through their tears and broken hearts they held on just one more hour.

God told Moses to lead, but he was a stutterer and had killed a guy.

David was just a kid when he became a hero.  But as king he let his hormones get the best of him and had the husband of the object of his affection killed.

Hosea the prophet happened to marry a prostitute.

Peter cut a guy’s ear off.

Paul went around killing Christians.

O, BUT THAT WAS A LONG TIME AGO and in the Bible to boot, you say. Nevertheless, that was their story. What’s your’s?

I’M NOT FREE TO REVEAL a name, but I know of a prince-of-a-man, friend of my dad, who was born of a prostitute under a bridge in the early 1900s before there was a system in place to take care of him. Some Christian people, members of a little clapboard church found him when he was 6 years of age, and took him to Sunday School.  He gave his heart to Christ. They nurtured him along the way. He grew up, went to a Christian college with no money, could not pay tuition, and slept on the lawn for three days. The college authorities had compassion, gave him a job as a plumber; he graduated and became a leader in his church denomination. So what is your story?

A CONFUSED MAN stumbled into our little church located on a dirt road in a rather poor part of town. We gave him a job at $5.00 per week helping to clean the church. He couldn’t read or write. He came forward to accept Christ as his personal Savior. With him, he brought his two little daughters or maybe they brought him. What a sight that was; kneeling in front with his little 7 year old daughters as they hugged him, all three with tears streaming down their cheeks. They lived in a little house built with soda pop signs picked up along the dirt road. The floors were swept clean – made not with hardwood, but dirt. The first time I visited them the little girls were sweeping the dirt floor with weeds. It was clean as a pin. I saw them grow and learn as they came to church, hair combed and clean, excited to learn more about Jesus.  That’s their story. What’s your’s?   🎼🎶🎹

“Keep holding on, just one more hour

May bring to thee the promised pow’r;

Keep holding on, thy Lord doth care,

He’ll not forget to answer prayer.

“Keep holding on, keep holding on,

The victory will soon be won;

The longest day will soon be gone,

Keep holding on, keep holding on.

“Keep holding on, Christ knows thy need,

He doth the hungry sparrows feed;

Keep holding on, He’ll hear thy cry,

Thy Lord is watching from on high.”

(William C. Poole)

“Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”

Matthew 25:23

LOVE!

LOVE! THE TRUE MEANING HAS BEEN PERVERTED FOR SO LONG  BY HOLLYWOOD USING SOUND AFFECTS, PICTURES and PLATITUDES disguised as profound until we’ve essentially resorted to making it entirely physical.  A good example is the 1970 movie with Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw, LOVE STORY.  A memorable line is, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  [O how sweet!]  Not too many people can define LOVE. Our culture, philosophy, education and experiences all influence the way we think of LOVE.  

I guess Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald defined and sang LOVE this way:

“I’ve got the world on a string

I’m sitting on a rainbow

Got that string around my finger

What a world, what a life; I’m in love.”  (Ted Koehler)
In the 1960’s our culture redefined LOVE to mean a whole list of decadent behaviors.  Our American “enlightenment” has proven The Scriptural statement:  “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7 (kjv))  Using the ’60s definitions & behaviors, one could do anything, act any way, and as long as its called love, all is OK!  I think the 60s is when the innocuous statement got started, [gotta sing it] “luv yeew.”  No you don’t and I don’t!  But as long as we kind of sing it, it legitimizes it. True LOVE goes beyond and above.  LOVE is willing to go to the mat, make any sacrifice, lift any load, go the second mile, and do all this without complaining. 

 Do I have the ability to define LOVE apart from the Word of God?  No!  But the Apostle Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit,  penned one of the most memorable, declamatory and eloquent chapters in the Bible writing to the Corinthians.  

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t LOVE others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t LOVE others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t LOVE others, I would have gained nothing. LOVE is patient and kind. LOVE is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. LOVE never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But LOVE will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and LOVE —and the greatest of these is LOVE.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (nlt)

“Because of His great LOVE for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—”

Ephesians 2:4-8 (niv)

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the LOVE of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 3:5 (nlt)

“Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

John 15:13 (kjv) 

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“Could we with ink the ocean fill,

And were the skies of parchment made,

Were every stalk on earth a quill,

And every man a scribe by trade;

To write the love of God above

Would drain the ocean dry;

Nor could the scroll contain the whole,

Though stretched from sky to sky.

“Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!

How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure—

The saints’ and angels’ song.”

(Frederick M. Lehman)