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Friday, April 26, 2013

A Winning Combination


1 Chronicles 20:1, 2 Samuel 11:1-12:25, Psalm 51, 2 Samuel 5:14-16, 1 Chronicles 14:3-7, 1 Chronicles 3:5-9
I frequently counsel with people and usually the reason they come to me, or any other person for that matter, is because they have something in their life they are trying to overcome.
I try my best to help, give advice, pray for and encourage them but because I can always see the look of, Once I get this beat in my life, life is going to be great on their face I let them know one of the biggest lessons I have learned in my life- Once you conquer the battle in your life right now, there is always another one waiting for you.
Sounds pretty depressing doesn’t it?  But it is so true.
BUT, what we gain from our battles is so much greater than what we lose.  It is in our fighting that we learn
  • God’s faithfulness
  • Patience
  • Perseverance
  • How to give thanks IN everything
  • That God, who is for us in our battles, is greater than ANYTHING that would ever come fighting against us
  • And so much more!!
However, there is a kicker to all this, it means that we can not be passive in life, we have to always be on guard for the next punch the enemy may swing at us.
As we read today, King David, the great warrior was not sitting on ready, in fact he let his guard and defenses down.
He was at home at a time when kings normally go out to war (1 Chron 20:1) strolling on his rooftop after an afternoon siesta.
And the enemy swung, and David was not ready, and the rest is forever a part of his history. David, the man after God’s own heart, stole, murdered and lied.
The battle you are facing right now is not going to be your last one. This was not David’s last one. But how you choose to fight it will determine #1 the outcome and #2 the next one.
If you stay alert (1 Peter 5:8) and learn from this one, the next one will be easier to win.
Not because we have mastered anything, but because God is the master over everything.  Including our battles.
He is fighting for you.
The least we can do is fight for us too.
And as I tell the people I counsel, refuse to let the enemy win.
You + God = A winning combination!!
Now let’s go fight!!
Tina

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Greatest Battle Ever


1 Samuel 26:1-29:11, 1 Chronicles 12:1-7, 12:19,  Psalm 56
In our reading to day David and Saul part ways, never to see each other again.  After all the ups and downs their relationship has endured it truly was a miracle that one did not take the other’s life at some point.
But David has proven to be a faithful servant, even to an undeserving king.
I love what David said in his final words to Saul…
Now may the Lord value my life, even as I have valued yours today. May he rescue me from all my troubles. 1 Samuel 26:24
Saul did not value David’s life but David’s reward was not going to come from his enemy, but from God.
God had delivered Saul into David’s hands more than once giving David the opportunity to exercise faith and patience.  See, God promised David the kingdom but He did not give him the command to kill the king to get it.
David was given the opportunity to rendered good for evil, to him from whom he received evil for good. Becoming an example to us, not to be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
Have you ever had to do that?  Do good unto those who are definitely not doing good until you, but are instead making life for you or your loved ones very difficult.
Let David be an example for us today.
Saul was fueled by fear, insecurity and pride. That is what your enemy is being fueled by too.
David was fueled by a desire to follow hard after God.  Let that be what you are fueled by too.
David, the great warrior, let God fight this battle for him.
In what battles do you need to do the same?
When we value our enemies, no matter how hard it is, God will value us even more.
And will rescue you from your troubles.
David, the shepherd boy is soon to become King.  When he does he will know he won one of the biggest battles to get there: the battle over himself.
May we do the same.
Tina

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

He is the Reason


1 Samuel 4:12 - 8:22
The end of our reading today was a little heart breaking.  Israel, whom God has done so much for, whom God had chosen to be something special revealed that they didn’t want to be special any more, they wanted to be just like everyone else.
Although it may look like it, Israel requesting a king was not the problem.  In fact, God’s plan was for them to one day have a king. (Deuteronomy 17)
The problem was the reason they wanted a king- to be like other nations.
We get into trouble when we want the right things in life, but for all the wrong reasons.
Wanting a spouse is a right thing (It is not good for man to be alone. Gen 2:18). Wanting a spouse so you can be fulfilled in life is a wrong reason.  God, and God alone, is meant to satisfy us completely.
Wanting a great career is a good thing.  Wanting a great career so you can boost your ego is not.
One saying I have heard my whole life, and I am sure you have as well, is this-
Be careful what you wish for.
It is so true. Even good things in our life can bring troubles.
Marriages are great, but they are a lot of work.
Great careers are, well great, but they are, well, a lot of work.
But when you want these things for the right reasons the difficult days are much easier to navigate.
Israel is about to go through some difficult days. God is going to let them have what they want, but God is not going to walk through it with them.
If our decisions are always based on the right reasons, God will always walk with us through the hard days.
Israel rejected God as their King, yet they cannot escape His rule because God is the one who will appoint their new king.
God was not going to then, and will not now, step off His throne even if man asks Him to.
When we do not resist the rule of God, we will benefit from the rule of God. But if we resist the rule of God, we will only hurt ourselves.
Israel's reasons for their request was so they could be like everyone else.  God wanted them to be special.
God wants us to be special too and He alone always need to be our reason for everything we do.
Because,
We were His!!
Tina

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Great God, Weak Me


Judges 7-9:21
Gideon is one of the greatest stories in the Bible that illustrates how God intentionally uses the weak to do mighty things.
God did not, and does not, call people based on their ability, but their availability.
And I love how our great God reassured our weak Gideon today in Judges 7:10-11…
But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah.  Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. Then you will be eager to attack.
Why was it that God felt He had to reassure Gideon of the victory before the fighting began?  Do you remember yesterday that our reading ended with Gideon asking God not once, but twice to give him a sign that He was going to do what He promised?
So today, before Gideon could even ask for another sign, God went ahead and gave it to him.
When I came to Judges 6:36-40 (where Gideon asked twice for a sign) I noticed that a few years ago I had written in my Bible beside the text, God is a patient God.  I wrote that because I noticed how God willingly accommodated Gideon’s 2 requests and did grow impatient with him.
When God calls us, he knows we are weak, sometimes scared, uncertain of ourselves and sometimes uncertain of God, and yet He is always patient with us.
Oddly though, we can be some of the most impatient people on the planet.  It’s why we have road rage, fume at WalMart when there are 38 check out lanes and only 7 open, and get frustrated when our internet slows and it takes 6 seconds instead of the normal 2 to load a webpage.
And yet, God is always patient with us.
So far we have read about Noah, Abraham, Moses and Joshua, all men whom God did great things through, not because they were great men, but because they said, Yes to a great God.
God may never ask us to command an army, then reduce that army down to 300 warriors to fight against thousands of our enemy, but whatever He does ask, if you just say Yes, our God will do mighty things through you too, not because you are great, but because He is great...
And always patient with the impatient.