Sunday, May 27, 2018

MAY 27 "UNSHAKEN"

     DAVID is unshaken in his faith, he has always been unshaken in his faith.  When running for his life from Saul, he was unshaken in his faith, and encouraged himself in the Lord at Ziklag. When faced with a grueling miserable tortuous death, facing Goliath, he was unshaken in his faith and here, suffering in the consequences of his sin, after much fasting and contending to the mercies of God to spare the life of his son, he yet, once again, even when his son dies, is unshaken in his faith. What does David do when he finds out his son dies; that he has just fasted for; our text today says, "he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house....and ate".  You may say, "well what else was he supposed to do?"  Well, certainly not go worship the God who ignored his prayer! Instead he could be angry at God, begin to waiver in his faith and wonder..."is God real, maybe this is all just a joke, maybe there is no God and if there is a God; then he is unjust and cruel to let a little, innocent boy die!"  There are many paths David could have taken, but David is unwavering and unshaken in his faith no matter what life throws at him, no matter what sins David commits, he always finds himself back at the feet of God.  David cries out to God to spare his son, he has all the confidence that God hears him, he is not sure if he is going to change God's mind, but he sure is going to petition God's good nature, as if he were dealing with anybody else.
     What you see in David is a man who truly knows Jehovah is real. David understands that Yahweh
is personnel God and that He hears the prayers of his people.  And even more so, David respects the fact, that in the end God has the final say and is just in whatever that is. David doesn't question if God is real just because his son died. David has long resolved the issue of whether or not God is real. Have you decided once and for all that God is real, that God is just and all his ways are blameless? Can you worship God in unanswered prayer, can you worship God in losses, can you worship God when you don't get your way? I remember being deployed, while serving in The United States Marine Corps; we were out at sea, just 50 miles off the shores of Somalia on the USS Pelileau; and on that ship we had a thriving little church of 25 or so men. In one particular study I asked the question, "what circumstance or event in life, should God forbid it ever happen, do you think would deter you away from your faith in God?".  I did not ask for a verbal response, but just for each person to deal with that in their heart and commit to say, "Lord, no mater what circumstance may come my way in life, I do resolve today to be unshaken in my faith".  A few days after, one of the Marines in the bible study, Sergio Cammacho,  was notified, on ship, that his 4 month old son, that was born just a few weeks before we deployed, had suffocated in his sleep.  He cried and wept before me and I did not know what to do. So I said, "God is still God, God is still good, though we don't understand his ways and there is certainly no benefit at this point to turn from him, we need him more now than ever, He is still worthy to be praised and so we set a time for the following night to meet together and worship God. To my surprise, Sergio, who had lost his son, showed up and we began to just lift up our arms and voices to God and began to praise and worship our Lord. I remember pausing for a moment to look at the Sergio, who hours ago had just lost his son; and what an amazing sight it was to see, this man, just a day after losing his only son, sitting there, with his hands lifted to his God, worshipping and praising him, "WOW!", I thought, "this is amazing! and I myself was greatly encouraged by this man's unshakable faith in the midst of great suffering. This Marine's story and King David's story will always remind me of each other. Two men, with resolute faith, loss of a son, find themselves worshipping God and then eating and unshaken in their faith. This is no indication that David nor the Marine did not love their son in anyway, it is simply a stance, a posture in life, that God is good, God is just and he is worthy to be praised and worshipped in all circumstances and events of life and when we respond in this manner, God is able to bring a supernatural healing of the heart and is able to recompense his children beyond our wildest dreams, of any loss suffered, if we don't lose faith.  We know in our story that after David's son dies, the Great King Solomon is born to David.  What kind of faith do you have? Is there any circumstances of life, that God forbid, they happen that would throw you in a tumble of disarray and unbelief or have you resolved once and for all, that God is real no matter what life indicates, and that God is good no matter what life throws at us.  Job said, "though he slay me, yet will I praise him, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed by your name!"

MAY 26 "BIG BLEMISH ON DAVID'S LIFE"

     WE cannot speak enough about David. David is "the real deal".  He is not a Jew trying to practice his religion, he truly is a man of God and has a genuine relationship with Jehovah. "Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God's kindness?"  And David is not just trying to sound good! He really does want to show God's kindness. God's kindness, shown through God's people will go a whole lot further in our witness than preaching fire, hell and brimstone. Mephibosheth is mentioned to David. He is a disabled man and has now become associated with the rift raft of society. He is a nobody, forgotten by all the "somebody's"  David brings him into his household, restores everything to him that belonged to his grandfather Saul and then adds this,  "And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table".  Not only am I bringing you into my Palace, but you will eat at my table, you will be part of us, we will not only engage you economically, but socially you will become a part of our lives too. That David would bring in rift raft and then ask that rift raft to dine with him, at the King's table is more Christlike than any of us will ever dream of being. This is exactly what Jesus does with us, he calls the rift raft of the world, washes and cleans them up and them asks them to dine with him at his table, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
     There is no doubt that David is "a man after God's own heart", but David, for all his kindness, all his love, empathy and compassion, for all the good David wants to do for God, he has but one great weakness....WOMEN.  He has multiple wives, all beautiful and he gets to have sex with everyone of them, whenever he wants, there is no saying "no" to the King.  I'm sure there was something distinctly unique about each of his wives that attracted him sexually to them. He did not have to deal with their PMS, he did not have to try to cater to them, they were kept in a room in the palace and he simply summoned them when he felt the urge. David had certainly, in every aspect...made provision for his flesh. He's live every man's dream. He has multiple beautiful woman to sleep with and has no ties to these women other than to make sure they're fed and well kept and that he has his staff to do for him. These women make no demands on him, they are simply there to satisfy David's sexual appetite. Think about this....this is a supposed "man of God"!  However, what David fails to realize is lust for beautiful women has an insatiable appetite.  In other words, you cannot satisfy it. It is not as with hunger, that can be satisfied , for a time, by a good meal. Lust only grows more ravenous as we cater to it. The more we feed it, the more it wants. Lust must be starved to death in order to die (though it never truly does die). While David is sincerely a genuine man of God, as many are that are reading this blog, he must fight a very ungodly side to his life.  Unfortunately God has put in man, a passion in him, that is aroused by sight.  Women are the Achilles heel of all or most, ...men.  If we were not so driven by our sight and lust for women, we would never pursue them, we would be quite content amongst ourselves, ie: men.  There's nothing more that a man yearns for than a "get-a-way" week-end with just men. Women, by nature, drive men crazy, if it were not for their beauty and man's lust for that beauty, woman, for the most part, would be dismissed by man. 
     I worked on the flight line for years serving in the Marine Corps, Air Wing.  We had several vehicles needed on a flight line, to get the job done, that of course needed engines. However, for the safety of all, each vehicle had installed in it a governor on the engine.  This limited the speed of the vehicle, no matter how much we wanted to speed, we could not. We did not have to worry about self control, the governor took care of that for us.  How I wish God had put a governor in us with this arousal by sight, passion for woman and lust for beauty. Why did God not build in a Governor in man?  The reason this blog started with David's Godliness is for men to understand that even one of the Godliest men that ever lived, struggled in this area. David had multiple wives (and this was not to show them God's kindness, but to satisfy his lust) and yet still is caught lusting after yet another beauty, even though he has a harem of beautiful women he could choose from to sleep with at any given moment. Why didn't God put a governor in men to prevent us for causing accidents and deaths with this lust and passion?  Just yesterday I heard of another man that is being removed from ministry because of this related issue. A marriage near destroyed, children hurt and a church left in disappointment and disarray because their head Shepherd himself has succumb to this.  How hurt Joab and Israel must have been to have know that David had succumb to this.  Joab but this we do know
     How important it is that we guard our relationship with our wife. How important it is that we keep a healthy, active, sexual relationship with our wives. Paul, the apostle admonishes us to "not deprive one another of sex"  WHY?..., cause it's mean? NO, he says, "so we don't fall into temptation".
The wife that we have and the holy spirit are the BEST means of any  governor that a man has and when man allows his relationship with God to slip and allows his relationship with his wife to slip, he has left himself wide open for temptation, with very little ability to resist or reign in that passion.
Another powerful governor is "the eyes" the eyes are the gateway to the heart. Job said"I have made a covenant with my eyes not to lust after another woman".
     If you are struggling in this area (and you are if you are a man) and don't want to fall (and I hope you don't) pursue the safe guards/governors God has given; pursue God and pursue your wife, be fulfilled spiritually by the one and sexually by the other and you will do well. If you let these relationships slip then it is just a matter of time before you fall. David is our example of Godliness and he is our example of the frailty and vulnerability that man has to lust, even if he is "a man after God's own heart".  Last words from the Apostle Paul, "if any man thinks he stands; let him take heed, lest he fall!"  The irony is, those that think they are above this will probably fall and those that fear it because they see their own weakness and vulnerability... probably will not!

Friday, May 25, 2018

MAY 25 "IMPERFECT LEADER, NO WAY?!"

     Are you being led by an imperfect leader? If you are, then welcome to the rest of The Church of Jesus Christ; for we are all being led by an imperfect leader.  The heart of a leader is what matters, not his perfect tract record in decision making.  David asks his spiritual leader/adviser what he thinks about his desire to build God a house to dwell in.  Samuel responds, "whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you".  The problem is that most of us rely to much upon our leaders and not enough on God. Are relationship with our leader is much stronger than our relationship with God and this is a ticking bomb waiting to explode. On the other hand, others are "super spiritual" and they believe all they need is a relationship with God and they have no relationship with their leadership. They avoid spiritual leadership and refuse to give them any recognition, "he puts his pants on in the morning the same way I do" is often the mantra of these pseudo spiritual disciples. You'll notice in verse 18, our text says, "Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said...."  David has the right balance between headship and Leadership because he is not "super spiritual" he is simply a true man of God. He understands the place of spiritual headship in his life and he also understands the place of God in his life. The two work in conjunction with each other.  A man who has great relationship with headship but no or very little relationship with God is a recipe for disaster. The man who has a TRUE relationship with God WILL have a good relationship with his headship. A man who believes he is in love with Jesus but avoids and disregards headship is a deluded man who God will never be able to use to his full extent and desired purpose for that man.
     What is admirable about this particular leader (Samuel) is his ability to admit to the one he is supposed to be leading, that "he was wrong".  How many leaders would rather hope and pray that things somehow just work out, rather than return and apologize or return and admit that they were wrong, gave bad advice and retract what they have spoken.  I don't know what went through Samuel's mind, but if he is like the rest of us, I'm sure it went something like this..., "how stupid I am going to look going to David now and telling him he can't build God's house after I so confidently told him it would be okay. How can I do this? David will look at me now and not know what to believe? Perhaps David will lose confidence in me as his spiritual advisor and headship, how then will I lead him, it's better I don't say anything, God somehow will stop him and I can save face; otherwise David will think I don't hear from God and I am just making it up as I go"
     I'm sure these were some of the thoughts that passed through Samuel's mind, but yet he put them aside, humbled himself and went back to David. The best harmony in any relationship between disciple and leader is one where the disciple is humble enough to seek his leader's advice and one where the leader is humble enough to admit when he is wrong and most important, it is one where both are seeking God behind the scenes and each has their own relationship with God and ultimately relies on God to be the ultimate decider and director of a man's destiny and purposes on this earth.
  Proverbs 19  21 There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel—that will stand."   This is our hope and our promise and this is exactly what happens in our text. David has many plans in his heart, but ultimately it is God's will that comes to pass and there's no grievance between these two men (leader and disciple). If you're having problems getting anywhere spiritually it could be that your relationship in either of these two areas is to to heavy in one and to light in the other. Relationship with God = relationship with headship & relationship with headship = relationship with God, humility as the preface and trust in God as the base = destiny, purpose & harmony.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

MAY 24 "A NEW COMMAND?"

     JESUS is going to be leaving his disciples, I'm sure that brought allot of thoughts to his mind about what was best to address with his disciples.  In Jesus' absence, what would need to be addressed? With this going through his mind, this is what Jesus comes up with. " a new command I am giving you, "love one another" by this men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another".  What would be one of the major concerns in Jesus' absence, according to Jesus, that these men would bicker, fight and devour one another without him there to be the peacemaker.  Pastor's spend half their time trying to convince congregations members not to kill each other.  Paul writes in his epistles, "stop devouring one another". No doubt, Jesus' foremost concern, concerning his leaving the disciples is that He will no longer be around to be the peace maker. Who will keep these men from ripping each other apart....hmmm....hey guys, listen, A NEW COMMAND  I give you, LOVE ONE ANOTHER, okay? What is the response of the disciples? "Lord, where are you going?"  Nobody says, "yes, Lord, you're right, we need to love each other".  Jesus has just said, " A NEW COMMAND....."  and not one word is recorded in scripture as to any response from either of the twelve men that are sitting with him, concerning Jesus' new command. It goes right over their heard. I wonder if Jesus thought, "excuse me, did anybody hear what I just said, A NEW COMMAND, does anybody have any response, anybody here wondering why I gave you A NEW COMMAND?".  "Yeah, yeah...we know Lord, we know, love each other, love your neighbor as .....we know Lord".   BUT you don't know, that's why this is being brought up, you DON'T KNOW.   LOVE is sorely lacking 'till this day amongst the brethren.  We either despise one another because of our differences or we despise one another because we see each other as competitors.  We will befriend the young lambs, but ignore the older sheep.  LOVE ONE ANOTHER....yeah, yeah, I know, i know....Lord where are you going, that's what really concerns me.  JESUS I LOVE, it's people I can't stand, it's his sheep that get on my nerves.  Peter you love me? Than.....FEED MY SHEEP. (That will come later when Jesus re-appears to them after his resurrection.) We put much emphasis on "winning souls" and little emphasis on loving them. Could it be that we find it easier to preach to someone, fill out a convert card than to love and nurture them on their journey and walk with God. MANY want to catch fish, but few want to clean them up once they're caught. I once went fishing with my wife, she liked to catch the fish, just didn't want to mess with them after they were caught. How accurately this describes the Church today. What's ironic about all this is the bible clearly tells us that we CAN DOD NOTHING to save a soul, but we can do everything to LOVE.  Jesus didn't tell Peter to "save souls"...what did Jesus tell Peter???.... "Feed my sheep, care for my sheep".  A NEW COMMAND I GIVE YOU, LOVE ONE ANOTHER, BY THIS MEN WILL KNOW THAT YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES.  When we put this into practice, then we will see the scripture fulfilled, "and those that were being saved were added to the church daily."

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

MAY 23 "TOO MUCH DRAMA FOR ME"

     This is a sad story (in the O.T.) about two leaders who do not have their heads screwed on straight. It leads to the senseless death of many; and if that's not bad enough, the drama continues years after this horrible incident. Years later when Abner decides to come over to David's camp, Joab is incensed and plots to murder Abner, to revenge the death of his brother, who was killed by Abner, in self defense....to much drama! Take note, when there is to much drama amongst God's people, this is a clear sign of a lack of relationship with God. David is the only one who mourns the death of this innocent man.  He makes sure to let everyone know he had nothing to do with this vengeful killing of Abner, by Joab and his men.  David has to live a life by which he is surrounded by other Israelites, all Jews by birth but yet none, or very few of the men around him have a relationship with God.  They all know the sacraments, sacrifices and rituals that a Jew must live by, but they do not have a relationship with God, as David does. We walk and function in Christian circles, as David was surrounded by nothing but Israelites so are most of surrounded by Christians, but sometimes we too may find ourselves surrounded by others who have the sacraments down, but no relationship. We are amazed at the bitterness, unforgiveness and vengeful spirit that exists in the circles we walk. It can be discouraging to see men with leadership status act in such barbaric ways, but it's reality. The important lesson we can learn from David is he never got so discouraged that he lowered his standards to theirs and succumbed to their ungodly ways. We know that David does fall pretty low with Bathsheba years later, but after a course of a year repents and gets back on track. Joab never repents and continues on his course of revenge, bitterness and ungodliness dies an ugly death.  We can become so discouraged with Christians today that we actually turn away from the church and Christians all together, but is that really God's will? The closer we come to Jesus' second coming, the closer the church will resemble the world, the more heretics we will find in the church and the bible tells us that "the hearts of many will wax cold".   Yes, their are many apostates in the church, but the Church is still God's plan and means for the equipping of the Saints and the Evangelizing of the World and we must never allow ourselves to be discouraged by the the tares the God allows to grow within wheat, one day God will come back and he will separate the two, until then, hold on to true standards, keep your convictions and maintain, above all else, your connection to the True Vine.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

MAY 22 "THAT VOICE WAS SO COOL!"

 The Voice was for you! “the wow effect” is normally for the crowd that you don’t want to be identified with. Jesus is quick to tell them, “the whole voice thing, that was for you…not for me”.  We would say, “You mean that’s not the way it normally is? God’s not always talking to you in an audible voice?”  Jesus’ answer would be, “no, that’s Hollywood”. There is no greater paradox than God himself, his workings and his dealings with humanity. Although there is no more Supernatural Being or experience in the Universe, God’s dealing with us, from the outside looking in, may seem unimpressive to the unsuspecting eye. We listen for “the audible voice”, we look for the “paranormal” but we get nothing. This is what attracts many people into the occult, is the “paranormal”, to them a spiritual experience must include “voices”, “objects moving”. In other words, “if you’re a supernatural being, if you’re not just like us, prove it!” With this in mind, now let’s look at this verse again, Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine”.   Jesus would say, “you like the voice thing/effect didn't you! I knew you would! I personally don’t need it, but if it excites you, if it makes your day, if it let’s you know this thing is real (even though you have a hundred other reasons too) if it helps you “to believe’ well, there it is, that was for you!”  The greatest illustration and example to us about God is found in the book of Esther. Although God is Supernaturally working through out that whole story, He is nowhere to be seen, at least not if your listening for an audible voice or looking for paranormal activity. I know way to many people, listening for a voice when they pray, looking for God to give them “a sign”.  What’s ironic, is true spirituality, often consists of none of the above. People who are “truly spiritual” have a natural relationship with God that is as natural as their breathing. It’s not forced.

Whoever thinks all day long, “I must breathe, I must breathe” we only think like that when there is a “breathing problem”, but when things are right, it’s natural. So how did God, the Father speak to Jesus? The same way He speaks to those today who are truly spiritual, He speaks to us not in an audible voice, but speaks to us internally and yet His voice comes through loud and clear, as if it were audible. The only voice these people could here from God was an Audible Voice, because only people with a relationship with God, with the Holy Spirit, can hear from God from the inside, “For in Him and through Him, we have our being”. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

MAY 21 "PIVOTAL MOMENTS IN LIFE"

Without trying to be "melodramatic" this is a Life Changing event for David.  David is set to go to war against Israel. However, in God's Grace, Mercy and Providence He prevents David from making probably the worse decision of his life (aside from Bathsheba & Uriah).  It is a "Pivotal Moment" in David's life and God is behind it all orchestrating. God is the Master Orchestrator! Not only does David not go to war against Israel, but when he returns to Ziklag he finds that Ziklag has been raided and his family and the family of his men are taken captive. The scripture indicates that his own men are getting ready to turn on David and stone him. At this moment David decides to seek God, the God  of Israel, that is! The scripture says, "David encouraged himself in the Lord, at Ziklag!"  Had David gone to fight in the battle against Israel, he would never have been back at Ziklag, desperate, seeking his God and getting reconciled/right with the God of Israel. As we read on about the War with the Israelites, we come to find out, that in this very War, that David wanted to fight in, against the Israelites, that Saul is Killed. Thence, David becomes King of Israel. However, how would it have ended if David had been allowed to go fight, with the Philistines, against Israel and Saul had been killed in that war, by the Philistines, aided by David himself? How would destiny have worked out for David then?  Each one of us will have pivotal moments in our life, in which we desperately hope and pray that God steers us away or in the right direction, when those moments come. They are life changing and destiny altering. This story also reveals to us, that God can work with someone who is messed up in his head, but still has a right heart. This whole idea that David has to fight with Israel reveals how messed up David is in his head. He's been hurt, wounded and is in spiritual turmoil, read the Psalms he wrote during this season in his life! But as screwed up as David is in his head, his heart remains in tact and God can work with that. Although we are not God and cannot fully understand what is taking place inside of man, it would be wise at times, to make this distinction before we write people off. The question to ask or to try to discern is, "are they just messed up in their heads right now because of what they've gone through" or "has their heart gone bad?".  In our reading today, we read about David coming inches away from sealing away any opportunity to ever become King of Israel.  The hope that we can have is that even in our worse moments, when we are getting ready to mess up our lives and mess up our destinies, if our hearts are right, God is still faithful and able to steer us away from harm and right into the very center, of his will for our lives.