Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Refuge - Psalm 7

Psalm 7:1 O LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, 2 or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.

1 Peter 5:8b Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

God is our refuge. In David’s case there was a literal ‘in the flesh’ enemy…in our case, the enemy is Satan, and he takes many forms. Either way, David is keenly aware that the enemy is like a lion, who seeks only to steal kill and destroy.

My daughter LOVES to sleep in our room. She doesn’t have to….she just likes to. If Jenny and I aren’t paying attention, when we go to bed at night, there she is. She doesn’t even care to sleep in our bed…she will sleep on the floor….with a blanket and a pillow. Our room, where we are…is where she wants to be. She has a perfectly good, expensive mattress in her room….yet she yearns to sleep on the floor near her mom and me.

She isn’t scared, yet she longs to be safe. There are no apparent threats, yet she longs to be secure.

David a mighty king….could crush his enemy, by his mighty army’s sword, yet he chose to take refuge in the Lord. Tate could sleep in the comfort of her own bed, 30 feet further away from her mom and me, yet she chooses a more uncomfortable (unnatural) pallet next to our bed. Maybe these examples of ‘childlike faith’.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tug-O-War - Psalm 6

Psalm 6:3 My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long?

David, I think is playing this massive game of ‘tug of war’ with the world. Like all of us do….wrestling with the desires of a sinful heart and a yearning to be ‘the man after God’s own heart’. This is the daily struggle of those man enough to admit it.
What a transparent look at a king who poured out his heart, his tears and emotional capacities, not afraid of who would notice….and even realizing that even his enemies would be troubled by his state of emotion, to the point of confusion or possibly their conversion. Whatever the case…..David knows the Lord will glorify himself.

This verse took me back…to a time of brokenness, a time when all I desired was God. What’s wrong with me…when I have other desires?

1 Peter 2: 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.

Better is One Day- Redmon
my heart and flesh cry out
for you, the Living God
your spirit's water for my soul
I've tasted and I've seen
come once again to me
I will draw near to you, I will draw near to you

Matt 5:3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

God I know you claim my heart….take it over. God, break my heart…because I am selfish, because I am sinful, because I am never close to you. Draw me unto yourself….I want to be where you are…..

Friday, December 26, 2008

Enemies - Psalm 5

Psalm 5:12 For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

I love the favor and shield of God. I am, however, only Righteous only by the blood of Christ. So the Lord gives favor on those he saves.

Romans 5:19 For just as through one man's disobedience many people were made sinners, so also through one man's obedience many people will be made righteous.

I praise God for my righteousness…for it only through him that I am. I guess that is as simple as it gets.

My neighbor, doesn’t believe in that man is sinful. He doesn’t believe that Adam brought sin into the world. By his own admission, he picks and chooses “what works for him” from the bible. Apparently.

I think if a man calls himself a believer, yet doesn’t believe in sin, Satan or hell…..he must then not fully believe that he is in need of a Savior…and therefore Righteous on his own….or Self-Righteous.

The Self-Righteous is who David is speaking of when he calls them ‘enemies’ and says;
9 Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit.

God, I lift up your enemies this morning. Allow someone to speak truth to them. Allow them to see your goodness…and their own depravity. God continue to allow the opportunities to tell your Simple Story of Christmas…throughout the year.

Our Simple Christmas

I don't know about you, but Christmas has always been about presents. We 'say' that Jesus is the reason for the season, and we give a weak connection between the presents and Jesus being the ultimate present....or the Maji and their presents being the tradition of gift giving. But we literally spend ourselves into a hole at Christmas. We totally consume everything out there, and build debt that it takes several months to dig out of.
And not because we are cheap, and not because we don't love people, but because we believe, that's not what God intended. This Christmas, we decided, that we would have a 'simple christmas'. Simple in the way we celebrate, simple in the way spend, simple in how we show what is important to us.
First of all, we followed a great guideline for presents for our kids, and ourselves. Each of us got 4 presents. Something we want, something we need, something we wear and something to read. The something we wear for the kids... became a few somethings... but by and large we help pretty well to this. What we found is that we could (and our kids could) grasp this.... and it freed us up to give to others like we have never given before.
We went in with several other families and we were able to financially bless, give gifts and food to 3 families and an orphanage....the families we gave to, were not going to have gifts at all....nor were they going to have a meal. There are organizations out there...that make these connections....or you can just keep your eyes and ears open. One of the families, was a family at the school one of our friends works at.
Another thing we did was give our time to 'a cause' that we believe in and have come to love, helping the Homeless. Christmas Eve, we intentionally left of late afternoon and evening open. As a family, we made sandwiches about 40-50 and delivered bags with a sandwich, chips a piece of fudge and a water....to guys and girls around town on Christmas Eve.
The highlight of my Christmas may be that as we delivering the sandwiches, we were pulling up to a parking lot, near where we serve burgers about once a month. And I hear my name being yelled....by one of the guys we have been ministering to. I get out, he greets me again...shakes my hand and ask me "how you doing, Tray?"
Christmas morning we decided to get away from it all being about us and presents and get up early, joining Mobile Loaves and Fishes and making a truck run. This consisted of cleaning and making ready (loading with food) the trucks...then going out with them and interacting with those we were ministering to. I got to spend some time with a new friend Robert, who is from New Orleans and is homeless. He works when he can get it, but by his own admission, he has problems with girls, money, and alcohol. He is a professing believer, saved by grace, same as me. He loves his family, and respects his uncle. He has several children and borrowed Benton's cell phone to call one of them to wish them a Merry Christmas.
I told him we were going to Alabama for New Years and he said.....you should stop and see my uncle...and pray for him. He has cancer and Robert hopes his Uncle finds peace before dying. He said he is a Christian...but he is still mad about things. Mad about cancer......which I understand. I get his phone number from Robert and I plan to stop by. This was a simple request, from a simple man, who simply wanted to bless his uncle.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mary's Christmas - Luke 2

Luke 2:19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Can you imagine. A young unwed girl, who has been told by an angel, she has been chosen by God, to have His son. Her husband to be, Joseph, has been ‘talked to’ by the same angel….so he believes her and stays.
Now Mary has a natural pregnancy….with the small exception that Jesus jumped in her womb as she met Elizabeth.
Mary has had this ‘normal’ experience, except she knows that God is the father of her baby. She knows she will name the baby Jesus.
Now it is all coming to pass. Mary and Joseph, had to have her baby in a manger, I guess the verse could have read….and Mary was completely overwhelmed, exhausted and tried to control herself…and I would have been okay with her response. But she sat back, listened to the shepherds….as they gave the account of the angels…..and she treasured the things they said, and she pondered their words in her heart.
I might have stood up and said…..”I told you so!”
Happy Birthday Jesus…and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Now I lay me...down to sleep - Psalm 4

Psalm 4:8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Safety, peace and sleep would not be “the Norm” for a king on the run. If things had gotten so bad in the kingdom that it’s very own king can no longer assure his safety, then times are pretty insane.

For David to lay his head down at night, and find solace and comfort as God removed the worries of the day, and allowed him to feel safe as he slept was a great blessing. There isn’t much worse than a night of worry, as you try to sleep. David recognizes this as he is saying his evening prayer to the Lord.

The old kids prayer goes;
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep……
Its really that same type of prayer, it’s basically comforting for David to know, that he can trust God with his safety. Whatever God decides to allow to happen in the night….God’s in control.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Loser's Lean - Psalm 3

Psalm3:3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift [b] up my head.

When I used to play football…there was a point in the game, where one team would begin to dominate to the extent, that it affected the posture of the other team. You could see it…..my coach called it, “the loser’s lean”. It was pretty easy to see…and once you saw this on your opponent, it was over.
You had not only dominated him on the scoreboard, but his heart and soul was no longer able to fight.

You also, always hear coaches after the game….or at the very end, telling their men, “keep your heads up!” and “you have nothing to be ashamed of!”.

This is the posture I think of when I read this verse.
David, it is thought, is being pursued by Absolum, at this point in time. He was unsure who to trust, who to flee from, so he fled from everyone. You can imagine how mentally exhausting it must be, to always be ‘on guard’. Well that was the situation.

At this point and time, David must have begun to see that ‘loser’s lean’ posture in himself and recognized that only God, could lift his head. When all your enemies rise up around you, God wants our focus, our affections, our worries and praises. Ultimately, when we are being persecuted and we aren’t beat down….it gives us the opportunity to honor and praise our Heavenly Father.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ferocious Judgment - Psalm 2

You know last night, Brandon mentioned that every time the angel of the Lord appeared to someone….the angel had to say, “fear not!” because the “glory of the Lord” was on them. It must have been very awe inspiring. It must have been, brilliant, shocking, scary, beautiful and moving. And that was THE GLORY of the Lord.
How much more then would you be terrified of the Lord’s wrath?
Psalm 2:5 Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying. 6 "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill."
Guys, as Christmas is upon us….I am humbled that Christ came to earth to bear the brunt of God’s wrath and anger. Admittedly, I am not as fearful of the Lord as I should be. We should never forget that the anger of God, that frightens men to death and makes kings quake….is still directed at us….Christ’s atonement and redemption stands in between us God’s ferocious perfect judgment.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

That's Twice

2 Samuel 24:10 David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the LORD, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done.

2 Samuel 23: 17 "Far be it from me, O LORD, to do this!" he said. "Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?" And David would not drink it.

This is twice in the last two chapters that David has twice had to go back and repent. The first one in chapter 23 was over water. He sent two mighty men to fetch him some water from a well. Not just any well, but the well he used to drink from as a child. Maybe he was being a little nostalgic, but as him men returned….decided that it wasn’t worth the blood of men to drink from that well.

Now, he has gotten out in front of God. Israel has really pissed him off…and he is wanted to impose his own justice, but first he wants to count the men to see if he, based on numbers, has an advantage. One, God didn’t direct him to attack Israel and two if God wanted David to fight Israel….he doesn’t need a certain number of men to win the battle.

David’s sin is obviously great by the number of people who the death angel avenged….so how great a sin, are those sins that fester in OUR minds. God have mercy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mighty Men

In 2 Samuel 23, there is a list of the ‘Mighty Men’ of David. I think it is significant from the perspective that David was a great leader, but he also assembled a great support system. These men listed are the men that stood beside David BEFORE he was king…..after Samuel had anointed him, but before Saul was removed from the throne.
Remember this was a very tough time…..thus making these men even more ‘Mighty’.

These are the men that worked behind the scenes, with little or no recognition. Yeah they got a mention here at the end of 2 Samuel, but never received the accolades or were rewarded for their actions.

There is such a great correlation between being a Mighty Man of David and church work. Church leaders and workers, roll up their sleeves every day, go to battle, teach a class, stack a chair, load a trailer, fold a bulletin, change a diaper, set up pipe and drape…and not too many people are going to notice. But God does.

These men who served David, may have never been noticed by a single person…..but God recorded them in His Holy Word.

God, I want to be a Mighty Man. Give us the strength and courage to do your work. Give us eternal perspective and make us see the ‘bigger picture’. It’s not about us…..may you be glorified!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Lord's Delight

2 Samuel 22:20 He brought me out into a spacious place; 
 he rescued me because he delighted in me.

I am reminded this morning, that our Lord does delight in us. He rescues us…and puts us in that spacious place.

A couple of other verses backed this up for this morning.

First is the 23rd Psalm. “he makes me lie down in green pastures” is that spacious place, where I am safe, taken care of, and have plenty.

One of my favorite verses in all of scripture is Zephaniah 3:17:
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
Again here, the Lord rejoices over us with singing….because he takes such delight in us. This verse was part of a benediction I did… several weeks ago, and I’m sure it will be again.

Friday, December 12, 2008


2 Samuel 20
"We have no share in David, no part in Jesse's son!”

Was the battle cry of Sheba, a trouble maker. He set out to cause division and disloyalty among those (Israel) who had most recently joined David. Israel in chapter 19 had even argued with the tribes of Judah who honored David more.

2 Samuel 19:43 Then the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, "We have ten shares in the king; and besides, we have a greater claim on David than you have. So why do you treat us with contempt? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king?" But the men of Judah responded even more harshly than the men of Israel.

I think about T.O. (Terrell Owens) of the Cowboys. It was less than a year ago that he stood in front of a camera, weeping on behalf of “his quarterback”….saying that the media should lay off him for his part (a botched snap) in the playoffs.
Now, the same T.O. is pretty much slamming “his quarterback” as a guy who is scheming to keep T.O. out of the offense.

T.O. is also trying to poison several of the other receivers, if not his teammates because of Romo’s supposed favoritism.

In my opinion, Jerry Jones should act with the swiftness and ferocity of David and his men…and remove the ‘cancer’ that is T.O.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's never too late

2 Samuel 18:33 The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: "O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!"

I had a good friend of mine, who’s son was a trained hunter and competition trap and skeet shooter. He was competing against grown men as a child. He won all kinds of shooting competitions by the time he was 11. He was a state champion by the time he was a teenager. He was great with a gun and very knowledgeable about them.

When he was 13, he and one of his friends, came into the barn after an afternoon of hunting, as they were we rehashing the game they saw (but didn’t kill), they were cleaning their guns, and one went off. My friend’s son could only watch his best friend slump to the ground with a fatal gunshot wound to the head.

I met my friend, his son and the family at the hospital and just watched. There wasn’t much I could say, or offer. I did pray with them, but I saw two men weep for their sons. One who has lost his in this horrible accident and the other, obviously for the dead young man but also for the pain his son would endure his entire life.

I am sure this was the kind of weeping David did over Absolum’s death. The kind that wished he had done something different. Maybe had I been there, maybe if I had better supervised, maybe, maybe, maybe…. What if David hadn’t indulged his son, what if he’s have been a better parent…. I think David’s desire to swap places with his son, was out of the guilt he felt…and I think that is natural for a parent in this situation.

I also think about the David/Christ correlation again this morning. David would have gladly gone to the grave instead of his son…..no matter the offense, no matter that Absolum was indeed an enemy of David’s…. he would have gladly taken his spot in the tree….where he hung…and died.

I guess the one thing I take away this morning…as a father, is that it’s never too late, until its too late.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

foolish pride

Matthew Henry’s Comentary brought me quite the ‘nugget’ this morning.
I was struck by the suicide of Ahithophel in verse 23 of 2 Samuel 17….was it as cut and dry as wounded pride? Could there be more….and it was a lot of pride and confusion.

23 When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father's tomb.

Henry said this;
That will break a proud man's heart which will not break a humble man's sleep.

Brandon talked a little bit about humilty this week…and I would challenge us all to bit a more humble.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Impetus

2 Samuel 14:13b When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the king has not brought back his banished son?

What a bold move, what a daring thing to say to the king. Having been given the words to say by Joab, it stick took guts to speak them to David. But words of truth David needed to hear.

Absolom in exile, banished by his own sin…. needed a mediator acting on his behalf before the king. WE know that the King longed to go after Absolom, but his compassion toward his son (the sinner) was kept in check by ‘Justice’. It wouldn’t be fair for the king to pursue and forgive his son just because he loved him, and longed to be with him. Reconciliation was put into motion by this mediator…and therefore the King could justify the forgiveness.

I praise my heavenly King, who sent his Son (the mediator) to the land we were banished to, to bring us back (putting into motion, being the impetus, saving us, electing) to God.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Country Club Amnon

2 Samuel 13:2 Amnon became frustrated to the point of illness on account of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her.

What a sick pup! Clearly the sins of the father are passed down in David’s case. I have always known that children take what they see their parents do, and expound upon it, take it another level.

Exodus 20:5 I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation

David’s sin, coupled with the guilt he had over the death of his son, was a recipe for disaster for parenting. I have heard guilty parents don’t make good parents. You see this today in divorce…where one of the parents get custody and the other parent just indulges the child. What good does that do the child?

I believe that is the case with David’s son Amnon. He has lacked guidance, he has been given everything his entire life, he felt entitled to take anything he wanted (including his sister) ….he might even be considered by my wife and friends, “Country Club Amnon”. But David’s sins were lust, adultery and murder….and Amnon not only committed adultery, but rape and incest, then murder.

David may have been a great king, but at this point in his life, he was a lousy father.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

How far reaching is your influence?

2 Samuel 12:13-14Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die."

Wow! What a clear picture of repenting, grace and forgiveness. God forgave Davids’s sin, but just like in our case, there is no forgiveness of sin, without the shedding of blood. And as a precursor to Jesus, David’s firstborn son would die! Once Nathan had pointed out the hypocrisy to David via the parable….he repented. He didn’t make excuses, he didn’t pull rank, he didn’t cast blame….he owned it.

The key thing that I found in this passage, was that the adultery and the murder, were great sins (but I will submit secondary) and maybe these sins could require a burnt offering (maybe a HUGE one) …..but the sin that God judged David for….the one that caused the death of his son was the fact that David’s sin caused others to stumble. “but by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt” I like this translation better;
“However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”
His sin caused unbelievers (enemies of the Lord) to question God’s authority in choosing David’s selection as king. This may even be the cause of the Israelites not coming to faith in Christ.
So again, I believe we should always be aware of our influence to, not only believers, but non-believers as well. I believe we will be held accountable, even more strictly and a higher standard in this realm.

Monday, December 01, 2008

What was the Offense?

2 Samuel 11
You know, David has done so well….up until now. And we see in his story, how sin gives birth to sin…and sin to death.
I am trying to figure out, where that point was for David. What made him stay home, as his men went to war. Was his ‘initial’ sin reconnosence, of the rooftop of Bathsheba, or was his sin merely sending his men ahead without him? Either way, David found himself out of sorts, God was not in the forefront of his mind, and he entertained sin, called for Bathsheba and had sex with her.
I read through the chapter and it came to the end and it said.
Vs.27“But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.”
What was THE THING?
Staying home when the troops went to war?
Pushing God aside and doing his own thing?
Scheming and finding out about a married woman?
Using his influence to bed her?
Not repenting?
Conspiring to kill Uriah?
Killing Uriah?
Never once consulting God…with whom he had gone to regarding every decision till now? Isn’t that crazy?

In verse 27… other translations
But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD. (NASB)
But the LORD considered David's actions evil. (God’s Word Translation)

But notice that God’s anger didn’t burn against David…as it had Saul, or others (Moses, Israel, Uzzah) in the past. Wonder why? Was there a difference?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Great Thanksgiving

I was reminded this year of many of the things we CAN be thankful for;
Dressing (like the Pruet's make)
My own bed
More food than 20 people can eat....twice
As we sat at my mom's house in Corpus, I thought of many of the homeless folks this week, that may get a meal, but they wont have the same experience that I had. I am so blessed with a family that loves each other. The restored relationships in our family, is a testament to forgiveness and unity. I got to play golf with my cousin and uncle this trip. I hadn't played with them in 15 years. What a joy!
I'm sure there is so much more....we are so blessed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

David's Cabinet

2 Samuel 8: 15 David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people. 16 Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder; 17 Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were priests; Seraiah was secretary; 18 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and Pelethites; and David's sons were royal advisers.

One of the commentaries I read states that:
David was not so engaged in his wars abroad as to neglect the administration of the government at home.
David executed judgment and justice unto all his people-Though involved in foreign wars, he maintained an excellent system of government at home, the most eminent men of the age composing his cabinet of ministers.

If you look at the American Statesman this morning, front page, you see Obama’s new economic team. As he continues to assemble his cabinet, I am reminded to pray for the men who will effectually lead our nation. I pray for our new president, his advisors and those who he will place in power, whether it be in Cabinet positions or Supreme Court Justices. I pray that they fear the Lord…and that they seek to administrate with righteous justice.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fool for God

2 Samuel 6:22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.

Some great images of worship come to mind as I read this passage.
I remember a man, a grown man…in a worship service I was in….walking to the aisle…down toward the front and laying face down on the floor. Face directly into the ground. At ANC its not uncommon to see a good percentage of folks, free enough to raise their hands. I would say that David ‘dancing before the LORD with all his might’, was something to see. Yet, a newly crowned king, was so free in his expression of worship that he could act foolishly, before HIS king.

Several great worship song…also come to mind. One of note by Matt Redman….Undignified

I will dance i will sing to be mad for my king

nothing lord is hindering the passion in my soul

I will dance i will sing to be mad for my king

nothing lord is hindering the passion in my soul

and ill become even more undignified than this

some would say its foolishness
ill become even more undignified than this

some would say its foolishness

I didn’t use to be a hand raiser. I was a wanna-be hand raiser. I could do in the privacy of my own car (or truck), but when it came to being in public, with people I knew…I didn’t want to appear foolish. King David….acknowledged the foolishness and his desire was to become even more foolish…as a posture of humility.

Hand raising to some…is just as much a part of worship, than the singing itself. So why do we raise our hands?
Act of humility…..surrender
Posture of receiving from God
Identifying ourselves with Christ
Maybe even…..an answer to a call….’Here am I ….send me Lord!’

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

God is Justice

2 Samuel 4: 11 How much more—when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed—should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!"

You know…David continues to be consistent concerning God’s sovereignty (a great lesson for us) Recab and Baanah, both Benjaminites (under the house of Saul) did what they thought was expedient and would earn them favor with David….by murdering Saul’s son, and uniting all of Israel. They carried the severed head as a trophy for David and presented it to him, as the head of an enemy.
First of all, David didn’t consider Saul or his descendants his enemy. And he had given on oath to Saul, to never kill or erase the name of Saul from the earth. He was loyal and loved Saul and Jonathon.
Secondly, David believed the Lord would deliver Israel to him. He wasn’t compelled to rush or take matters into his own hands. “vengeance is mine…says the Lord’
God ultimately trumps all the evils that men do…and can work them for good….for His purpose, David could not condone the evil of man….even if it apparently would be ‘for the good.’
I think it is so important to wait on God. I think we must also call a spade a spade when it comes to evil in the world. Even when God uses events, even sinful situations, and brings glory to himself… this is His prerogative. He doesn’t cause evil, evil exists in the absence of God. Could God circumvent evil…certainly, does he condone it….certainly not, is evil dealt with….severely.
We are so conditioned to for immediate gratification and response…..some believe that God’s not paying attention when evil goes unchecked, that when there are not immediate punishments and consequences for evil, must mean God is somehow less ‘God-like’. David knew….that God is Justice…he will judge both fairly and severely. And His ways are higher than our ways…and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

Friday, November 14, 2008

All the King's Men

2 Samuel 1:11 Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them.

After hearing of the death of Saul…and the delivery of the crown and the band on his arm….that the king would wear….David truly mourned. Truly.

If anyone had reason not to mourn it would be David. But the thing I like….the thing that stuck out to me most of all….were the men with David. They were a party to the attacks and the running for their lives…they had reason to loathe Saul as well….yet their leader set the example, their leader showed them how to behave in this instance….and they truly mourned, wept and fasted with David.

God thank you for the Godly examples you have put into my life….who have shown me how to behave, how to love, how to be a man and still love you. God lift them up today and give them special blessings as leaders, give them your wisdom as they continually seek out other men to shepherd. And let those of us in leadership realize that we are being watched….how we behave predicates how those around us will behave. Guide our hearts, our thoughts and our tongues as we interact with others….both those who know you and want to know you more…and those who don’t yet know you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Matthew Henry’s Commentary states: Those who consider the Lord as the Giver of their abundance, will dispose of it with fairness and liberality.
This was the word I got as I read 1 Samuel 30. A portion of David’s men remained behind…and stayed with the supplies because they were too tired to go on….and ultimately fight.
The ‘evil men’ amoung the remaining 400 fighting men of David’s, wanted to cut them off from the plunder. But David recognized that the plunder was a provision of God….not by anything they did or won. God had delivered Amalekites before the first sword was drawn.
I pray ANC continues to be a giving church. Though most at ANC aren’t rich by Austin standards…we are rich by the world’s standards. God has given, so that we may bless others.
I was reading James 2:15-17 again this morning: Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
God continue to go before ANC….bring us the RIGHT people, give us this sense of ‘fairness’ that David had, and let us fight where we see injustice. Help us to remain focused on you and what you’ve called us to do.

Monday, November 10, 2008

We all have nipples.

This should be one of those stories taught about in church on Sundays….but I have never heard it, nor do I even remember reading it.

1 Samuel 28:3b Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land.
6 He inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. 7 Saul then said to his attendants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her."
8 So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. "Consult a spirit for me," he said, "and bring up for me the one I name."

This is a story of Saul…seemingly outlawing a practice that is in opposition to God….yet holding onto the practice in his own heart. How wicked are our own hearts that we try to put on this image of what we want people to think about us…when deep down, we cling to the very things we publicly say are ‘vile and wicked’.

Numerous stories come to mind of the hypocrisy within the church….from child molesting priests, to adulterous televangelists, to IRS cheating pastors and lesser offenses as well. No wonder we get blasted in the media when yet another of us morally fails.

The most painful example of this to me…was my old youth pastor….from when I was a teenager. We had a great youth group, then he went off and pastored a hugely successful church in Arizona, then planted a church in Birmingham Alabama. Along the way, he helped start Student Life ministries, was chaplain to the Samford College football team, was on a popular local radio show and taught marriage seminars. Last year, he had to cancel one such dates at a Marriage seminar because he was found out….he had carried on a 30 plus year affair with a former babysitter (the girl was only a few year older than me). This really rocked me. Basically his affair predated being my youth pastor, …and all the activities listed. Needless to say, his ministry is over….he has no platform. Had there been a simple incident of infidelity….maybe. But this man harbored this sin, while preaching in opposition and positioned himself as an expert in ‘marriage’. The thing that made me sickest….was thinking about all the young people who have trusted Christ after listening to him…and their doubts.

The part of the passage that is most convicting….have you guys ever been somewhere where you don’t want to be recognized? I used to have a lot of Youth Camp t-shirts…a lot. But there were times…..that I intentionally changed my plans because I didn’t want to be associated one direction or the other….if that makes sense. Here is a good rule of thumb….if you have to changed your appearance, or wear a disguise…then you probably shouldn’t be there.

Now on a funny note…there were times I should have changed and didn’t. You guys remember THE Farrah Fawcette poster? You know you do…in the red bathing suit..and the nipples….well as a kid I had that on a t-shirt. I would have had to be about 12-13….maybe. Well I sat front and center one Sunday night at church….you guessed it…with my t-shirt on (what were my parents thinking?*****) Well, the pastor asked my parents after church not to let me wear that in service again.

*****seriously…what were they thinking?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hey Abner, right here!

1 Samuel 26:13 Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the hill some distance away; there was a wide space between them. 14 He called out to the army and to Abner son of Ner, "Aren't you going to answer me, Abner?"

David had a string of spiritual battles…and apparently he has come out on the right side. Each time his vengeance was turned away….and David allowed God his timing.

But I wonder about the condition of David’s heart, that he taunts both Abner and Saul. I don’t even know if it is his heart….but maybe just his flaw, the crazy way he is wired. The Lord has just made a transformation in his heart, from hatred and killing to honoring and sparing, and he takes the opportunity to at best, taunt….but more likely make a fool of the King and the general of his army. Sounds like something I would do. Reminds me a bit of a scene from Braveheart!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Voice of Reason

1 Samuel 25:12 “Put on your Swords!”

Snap! Just like that. David’s pride was hurt…no doubt, but his response to kill every living male in the house of Nabal. This doesn’t seem like the cool head of the man who in the previous chapter, spared the life of Saul, and then honored him. Seriously, who is more deserving of death….a man trying to kill you or a man who dissed you?

Okay, but seriously which one of us hasn’t been there before? Maybe we weren’t going to kill someone….but maybe we were cut off in traffic…and all of a sudden we are a total freak. Or we get corrected and our first response is to attack. Our male egos are so jacked.

Thank goodness for Abigail the Peacemaker….she kept David from sinning, from committing murder. David was impressed by her boldness, her courage and her good judgment. So much so, that when Nabal died, he asked Abigail to become his wife.

God used Abigail, much like he uses our wives. How many times have they been the voice of reason for us?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


1 Samuel 24:5 Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe.

I’m not sure if this is the first time, but David didn’t consult with God. This is kind of in opposition to how David operated in the previous chapter. At his men’s urging….David went and cut the corner of Saul’s robe, when he was in the cave, and Saul was distracted.

I was just struck with the fact that remorse never follows God’s leading. It’s only when we step out on our own…do we have these feelings.

David’s actions afterward, were a great model for us, when he realized what he had done. He first told his men (the witnesses) of his wrong, then he apologized to Saul (the offended).

Monday, November 03, 2008

Fight for Injustice

1 Samuel 23: 1-2 When David was told, "Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are looting the threshing floors," he inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I go and attack these Philistines?"
The LORD answered him, "Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah."

My first thought about this passage was, isn’t it cool that David when he heard about the attack on Keilah…was impressed to fight for injustice. Really without anything to gain, and everything to lose, he put himself in harms way militarily…and exposed his position to Saul.
This may be a stretch…but as a precursor to Jesus….who in the same way fought for the ‘underdog’, the less educated, the common man….David relied on God’s provision for him in the fight. And David saved Keilah from an enemy who came to steal, kill and destroy.
Secondly, David didn’t rely on his past victories against the Philistines as an indicator to attack or not….he went to God. David knew the source of his strength and victory.
As proof that God isn’t afraid of our questions…David went back to God after his men questioned his military strategy…
4 Once again David inquired of the LORD, and the LORD answered him, "Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand."
God didn’t burn with anger, or punish David or his men for their doubts. He remained constant, delivering them as promised.

Men I pray we trust God ways. That we always fight for injustice, put ourselves in harms way for the ‘least of these’, and seek God first.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween was incredible!

Seriously. Along with the Hatmakers, we decided to have a little impromptu neighborhood gathering instead of sitting on the couch, sending the kids to the door to give out candy.
We had a bounce house thing, had tons of hot dogs, bacon wrapped sirloin and jalapenos...and just sat out as neighbors, we have started to connect with, came by with their kids. It was really no big deal, but everyone appreciated it.
I have been a part of church, where halloween was frowned upon, but seriously.....we aren't celebrating Satan, we are allowing kids to be kids.....like when we were young. Last night, we were creating community...neighbors meeting neighbors...shouldn't THAT be what the church does? And if we acknowledge Halloween Night...when we know everyone is going to be out with kids....is there something wrong with that? I personally dont think so.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bread of the Presence Conflict?

What is the Bread of the Presence?
Leviticus 24:5 "Take fine flour and bake twelve loaves of bread, using two-tenths of an ephah [a] for each loaf. 6 Set them in two rows, six in each row, on the table of pure gold before the LORD. 7 Along each row put some pure incense as a memorial portion to represent the bread and to be an offering made to the LORD by fire. 8 This bread is to be set out before the LORD regularly, Sabbath after Sabbath, on behalf of the Israelites, as a lasting covenant. 9 It belongs to Aaron and his sons, who are to eat it in a holy place, because it is a most holy part of their regular share of the offerings made to the LORD by fire."

I just wanted to point out something I found…that has been written about. You can research further,
1 Samuel 21: 1 David went to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech trembled when he met him, and asked, "Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?"
Apparent conflict;
Mark 2: 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he (David) entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions."
The Mark passage is speaking of the incident when David went to the high priest asking for bread, and the only bread available was the Bread of the Presence. Mark speaks of Abiathar being the high priest, while 1 Samuel says tht Ahimelech is the high priest. Abiathar was Ahimelech’s son. Matthew and Luke both write about the same incident but clearly omit the name of the high priest in their account.
After becoming king, and Saul killed over 40 priests (of which Ahimelech was one) Abiathar became priest under David’s rule. So Mark’s verbage …. In the days of Abiathar, literally would have been correct, but this phrase would not commonly be used to describe ‘when David ate the Bread’.
Just something to chew on and research. Let me know what you have heard about this.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Undignified Worship

1 Samuel 19:23-24 So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even upon him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. He stripped off his robes and also prophesied in Samuel's presence. He lay that way all that day and night.

After Saul had sent 3 groups of men to get David, who was with Samuel at Ramah. They found David worshipping the Lord. As Saul’s men entered into the presence of the Almighty, the Spirit fell on them as well…and they worshipped. Then they returned to Saul empty handed.

This is why in verses 23-24 Saul went himself, to capture and kill David. What his men reported to him didn’t make sense. As he arrived “the Spirit of God came even on him” and he too…..worshipped.
The cool part is that he stripped off his robes…and worshipped. A kings robes were usually very ornamental, signifying greatness, royalty and majesty…and before the Lord….Saul (who previously wasn’t walking with the Lord) was compelled to remove the symbols of his own greatness and humble himself before God.
As God’s word tells us, “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Saul is a prime example of a knee bending, and a tongue confessing when he had no intent to do that.
Gentlemen, we need to strip away the things that we believe give us worth, status, glory (to man) and worship our Father who gives us life. Without him, we are, we have and we can do nothing.

In Matt Redman’s book, “The Unquenchable Worshipper”, the chapter call Undignified Worshipper, he tells of the Hebrew word “hallal”, where we get the word, Hallelujah! Hallal means to clamorously foolish or mad (crazy) before the Lord. Redman goes on to say….isn’t it time we saw a little more Holy ‘mayhem’ in our worship.
To answer the question of a little girl that came to church with us a few weeks ago….”why do you guys raise your hands when you sing?”….. it may be an undignified, foolish or crazy looking action…. But it’s the response some of us have when the Holy Spirit inhabits the praises of his people.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Slippery Slope

The Digression
8 Saul was very angry
9 And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.
10 The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul….he raved in the midst of the house (feigning prophecy)
11 Saul hurled the spear at David
12 Saul was afraid of David

You know, to see Saul’s digression is very real. In lesser forms it take place and manifests itself as jealousy or envy….but those too can become footholds for Satan. Satan fooled Saul into believing that the enemy wasn’t the Philistines, his own sin or Satan himself….but that the enemy was David.

I had a friend…who I saw this same pattern in. It’s very sad when there is someone who loves the Lord, who is in sin…and they no longer see their sin as the issue. They then will deflect the real issue (the sin) and now the source of all their pain and problems is someone else.

My friend no longer sought counsel from the one’s who loved him the most, he no longer prayed about his own areas of weakness and lastly he rejected the prayers of those who offered them.

I go back to Alex’s (Barney Fife’s) ‘nip it in the bud’ theology. You go back to the root, and there was a point in time, a decision that was made, that sin took hold. And much like a weed…you can’t just run over it with a lawnmower. There are roots. You must root out the sin.

I think Satan loves the little sins….its where he is ignored, glossed over, rationalized. More times that not though….the little sins lead to bigger sin. If you are called out on a little sin….pride (a sin) rears its head and a lie (to cover the little sin).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mighty to Save

We’ve all heard the story of David and Goliath a million times, each time a pastor or teacher will come from a different angle;

Why was David’s brother angry with him when he heard him asking about the Giant? Was he jealous? Was he being protective?

Why did David pick up 5 stones? Did he not trust God? Was David just prepared in case God decided to use stone 2,3,4 or 5…why not 6?

When I think about David and Goliath…lately I think about the movie ‘Troy’, the opening scene. Except with less sex and drinking.

I also think about the song by Casting Crowns, Voice of Truth

Oh, what I would do
to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant
with just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound
of a thousand warriors
shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out
my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
time and time again
"Boy you'll never win,
you'll never win."

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the voice of truth says "this is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

But today I noticed…and I’m sure it’s been preached on, but like Brandon said yesterday…the thing that stands out like its in bold print to me…..is one line, not even a whole verse;

1 Samuel 17:47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves

What blows me away, is that the Israelites…time and time again, throughout scripture are reminded, that the Lord’s mighty arm can save, and He chooses to save, through faith not sword. Yet, they rejected Christ, who came to save, without ever raising a sword, or lifting a hand (other than to help and heal).
God may your people some day…come to know you…and put faith in Your ways. May it all make sense…. and in your timing, bring them back into your fold.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fill me

1 Samuel 16:14 Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.
Did God send an evil spirit, as the passage says to torment Saul?
Believe it or not, this gives me comfort to think yes….God sent an evil spirit to torment Saul. Why? Because I know He is Lord over all.
Keeping in mind God’s Sovereignty, we must know, God rules over all, good and bad. He uses all of his world to carry out His will. This includes angels…and yes, even Satans minions. Remember in Mark 5, he had “Legion” cast out of the man there and forced “Legion” into the pigs.
When God removed his hand (Spirit) from Saul, he was subject to the whims of Satan. And in his Sovereignty, acted with authority over the evil spirit.

Psalm 81:8-12
8 "Hear, O my people, and I will warn you—if you would but listen to me, O Israel!
9 You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not bow down to an alien god.
10 I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
11 "But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.

I think God wants to fill each and every one of us….he needs us to subject ourselves to Him. He does not forcefully take over. In David’s case, he was hand picked (elected) by God, and His Spirit came upon him. But there are still choices to make. As we know about David, he wrestles with God and his own flesh…..

God, continue to fill me with Your Spirit. Correct me before I am given over to my stubborn heart.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Murderous Sacrifice

After doing battle with the Amalekites, Saul is confronted by Samuel….who tells him, the Lord is removing his hand from his kingship….since he rejected the word of the Lord, and didn’t destroy every living thing….he kept the best of the sheep and cattle and kept the king of the Amalekites alive.

Saul’s weak argument was they would make sacrifices with the best of the plunder to which Samuel answered;
"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ? 

As a parent, I would much rather have an obedient child than I would a repentant (or ‘sorry’) child.

God gives specific instructions for his glory…the need for sacrifice is reserved for times when we fall short.

At some point the offerings (like the “I’m sorry’s”) become not only meaningless, but detestable….

In Isaiah 1:13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your evil assemblies. 14 Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood;

21 See how the faithful city has become a harlot! She once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her—but now murderers!

Isaiah points out that sacrifice without repentance is murder! Now place Christ on that cross, and think about the times we have used that forgiveness without being repentant!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shift of Power

1 Samuel 14:6 Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, "Come, let's go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few."

I love the boldness and courage this move took, or maybe it just itch that Jonathon HAD to scratch. God had laid it on Jonathon’s heart to act on His behalf. This is total dependence on God, because Jonathon knew they were outnumbered, they were in an inferior position for battle (crawling up a mountain) yet Jonathon trusted the Lord to deliver.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Samuel just a few chapters ago told Saul;

1 Samuel 10:8 And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal; and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings: seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to thee, and shew thee what thou shalt do.

Then when Samuel arrived;

1 Samual 13:11 "What have you done?" asked Samuel. 
 Saul replied, "When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, 12 I thought, 'Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD's favor.' So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering."

Though Samuel had given complete instruction, Saul went against what the Lord had commanded and did what at first glance seemed appropriate. He offered a sacrifice to the Lord, though he was neither a priest or a prophet. Old testament law stated that common people could bring a sacrifice to the Lord, yet only priest could perform the sacrifices.
Why would Saul do this? Why would he go against what the prophet Samuel had told him?
He was scared
He thought some sort of sacrifice would win him favor
He wanted to appear ‘religious’ for his followers to trust him.
Maybe Saul felt that if he could just ‘pull off’ this sacrifice, he would find favor with God, that God would somehow bless this mess he had created.

Matthew Henry’s commentary suggests “Men destitute of inward piety, often lay great stress on the outward performances of religion”

How many times have you (or someone you know) prayed that if God would just get him out of this really really bad situation, they would NEVER do it again. When was the last time they prayed? Or when was the last time they even showed up in church? Probably the last time they were in a jam….like God is some magical genie, who gives us wishes…when we show up at his house. MH nails it when he says those “destitute of piety” rely on “outward performance”. Destitute means; lacking the means to live; totally impoverished. I think the fact that we even try to earn favor…shows how destitute we really are. Its like when the Homeless Guys tell us, they will do something (anything) for those cheeseburgers….they have nothing to offer of real value…. Just words.

Lastly, the fact that the Israelites were fighting with farm implements all lay at the feet of Saul. He had ruled for 3 years now, and were still without blacksmiths. A small oversite for a king who has now wakend the Philistine army with Jonathon’s attack.

So much for Israel’s thought that a king would solve all of their problems.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tangible Kingdom

I have always held the idea that growth meant discipleship and depth...when it really doens't. One of the stats I recently heard, was that 90% of church growth is 'transfer growth' (from other churches) and those people will stay until the next newest sanctuary opens...or next great program starts...we arent winning souls, because we dont care about our neighbors. Our hearts arent broken for them. If we truly loved our neighbors as ourselves....we would spend half of our money on them....right? WE dont, because we dont care...and the church doenst either.

The Kingdom of God---on earth isnt merely church programs, bible studies and megachurches. It isnt just a great worship service...I believe and have seen that the Kingdom happens when deeds are done. James 2:15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; (**or we have a bible study for you**) keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Jesus talks in Matthew .... Sheep and the Goats...no where in there do i see a thing about bible study. God isnt impressed or weigh that for salvation....he wants to see the evidences of our salvation, did we love others, did we feed the homeless, clothe the naked, visit those in prison, care for the elderly, take in the sick.

I have begun reading books (along with daily scripture) that come from a different perspective than mine...and I have a short list of books that all people/believers should read;
Irresistible Revolution-Shane Claiborne (wrecked my ideas of church)
They Love Jesus Not the Church (shifted some paradigms)
unchristian (broke my heart)
Tangible Kingdom (turned the way we do church on its ear)

Jesus wasnt scared of sin or sinners, so why then are we (the church)scared? We dont associate with sinners, have them for dinner, go to school with them, love them, hang out with them....like Jesus did. Why do we play defense when we should be on offense....the gates are around hell....not the Kingdom of God. Gates are the defensive posture...we should Conspiring, collaborating and create (with other believers)opportunities to attack the gates of hell. More times than not...we retreat (a defensive word) with other believers, we 'hide' God's word, or 'defend' our faith. We have gone from a people who proclaim their faith....to people who protect themselves.

The Kingdom of God is the Good News that the reign of Christ is breaking into the world, starting to restore all of his creation, so that it will be on earth...as it is in heaven.
I have started to think, what does the Kingdom look like to;
Homeless guys
Gay men and women
Wealthy men
High School Kids
Drug Addicts
and Single moms needing diapers

it may be a hamburger and a place to stay, unconditional love, a place to use your gifts and money, somewhere fun and challenging, free counseling or an HEB card. It looks different to different people. As a church we are trying to empower our people to engage others. To walk around like there is no crisis....doenst make the crisis any less real. We want to Expose our people to the CRISIS, let them EXPERIENCE the crisis...then they will ENGAGE.

In the Book 'Tangible Kingdom' there is a line...that i cant shake and I'll leave you with this,
go to Africa and hang out with a village of starving children, you'll get a heart for starving African children. If you hang out with the mentally ill, you'll get a heart for the emotionally imbalanced. If you want a heart for people outside the church......you've got to be with them. As they grab your heart, your posture will change, your angle of approach will change, and the kingdom of God will be a little more tangible.

Friday, October 17, 2008


1 Samuel 12: 21 Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless.

Wheat harvest was a time of year that there usually was no rain. So Samuel calling upon the Lord and Him producing rain was an awesome thing. Samuel made the point that the same God who you people (Israel) just slighted…and demanded a fleshly king, is the one who controls the weather the rain…and no earthly king can do this.

He is basically warning them, that the king they just crowned is far less powerful and useless than the God who continually bails them out, when they have repented, as a people in the past. The Israelites wanted a king so bad…that the possibility of raising him up and worshiping him was great.

I was left wondering what useless idols I have in my life. What things do I rely on more than God……what things make him jealous? What do I spend more of my time doing that I do worshipping God? What or who do I trust more than God? I have to be honest…. God may be jealous of my reliance on Brandon. I trust Brandon, I have even said…”I don’t know that I would have followed anyone else into ministry”…and although those are heartfelt….. God wants my reliance on him. Brandon, a great pastor, a great leader, and a great friend….did not breathe life into me, nor has he saved me. So perspective is maybe the point here. God doesn’t want all of our affections…he just wants ALL of our worship. (where is the line?)

God forgive me for misplaced worship. Whether its things, money, or people… I want to love you more, rely on you more and trust you more. Teach me, through your word how to do that.

Brandon, you are not a useless idol…..but you get it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Different Person

1 Samuel 10:6 The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.
1 Samuel 11:6 When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came upon him in power, and he burned with anger.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

As I walked through these chapters this a.m., I was struck that the Spirit of God, came upon Saul. Not that I didn’t think that Holy Spirit was an old testament thing, but that I had never drawn the correlation between the above scriptures.

I like the fact that 1 Samuel 10 says that you will become a different person.

This is really true. The leanings and promptings of the Spirit, aren’t necessarily the ‘things’ the old you would do, in our flesh. I really think that we open ourselves more to the Holy Spirit, as we seek his Kingdom in service, others, and His Word.

I cannot think of a scenario when I would give another person, group or whatever, a car (or van). But the Holy Spirit prompted Pete, a friend of Brandon’s and mine, to do just that for ANC. The crazy thing about it is…..Pete was so in tuned with the Holy Spirit, that he bought the van without a good reason, sensing God was telling him to do it.
Brandon and I have been talking for months about a van, and how cool it would be to pick up homeless guys and bring them to church. Brandon one day emailed Pete to get his phone number, and Pete told me later that he wondered as he read the email….”I wonder if Brandon needs a 15 passenger van”.

I think the Holy Spirit also opens our eyes, both physically and spiritually. I have been aware of the homeless populations existence, but not aware of the crisis. Now, it seems, God places these folks in my way….and I am constantly stretched to help, aid and love these people.

Benjamin, walked up to me at Starbucks in Corpus last week…..and made his crisis known. The Holy Spirit led me to meet a couple of practical needs and I spent a couple of hours (I had not scheduled) hanging out with, buying prescriptions for, and making phone calls and getting him to the best shelter.

I pray the Holy Spirit continues to make into a new person. I want to be the guy who hears the Spirit and responds. The person I am today, is different from the person who came to Austin a year ago….and I know it’s all about the journey…and what a journey it is!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Scattered Asses

1 Samuel 9:3b So Kish said to his son Saul, "Take now with you one of the servants, and arise, go search for the donkeys."

6He said to him, "Behold now, there is a man of God in this city, and the man is held in honor; all that he says surely comes true Now let us go there, perhaps he can tell us about our journey on which we have set out."

8The servant answered Saul again and said, "Behold, I have in my hand a fourth of a shekel of silver; I will give it to the man of God and he will tell us our way."

God’s plan and provision left to chance? Saul could select ANY one of the servants, yet he selected this one, this servant who knew of the ‘seer’, this servant who knew to ask the seer for direction, and this servant who had an offering.

I laughed this morning at the plan of God unfolding. Samuel was told to look for a man, the man’s physical characteristics, where he would be, and what he would be looking for. It clearly wasn’t Samuels plan unfolding, and the fact that he was a prophet had little to do with the fact that God scattered donkeys to make this appointment happen.

Samuel didn’t feel that Israel needed a king, yet when directed by God, he set out to find God’s man, treat him to a party, and give him the direction and word God wanted to have.

Scattered Donkeys, Servant Leader, Seer, Offering = King

Brandon reminded us of this verse on Sunday…..but I think it fits here as well…..For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Does My Deed Line up with My Creed?

1 Samuel 8:1 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

Guys, I couldn’t get past the first few verses. As dads, we are trying to live the life God has called us to….but this is a reminder that we only have one shot with our sons. Unfortunately, we cannot instill our faith in them. They must eventually live their own faith. I know Samuel wanted his sons to embrace his faith. Joels name means “The Lord is God” and Abijah means “My Father is the Lord”.
No doubt Samuel taught and trained his boys according to Proverbs 23:6, “Train a child in the way he should go.” But we must remember, we are accountable for our own walks. Romans 14:10-12 says “… For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the LORD, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ So, then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

I have seen too many times, Godly men, who lose touch with their boys….either from their selfishness, ambition, or just plain ignorance. The charge to me this morning is simple, let my deed line up with my creed… so that my son (and daughter) sees that my faith is real… and worth putting faith in, what I put faith in.

And when all else fails pray.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

1 Samuel 1-7 (Catching up)

This is just an amazing story of recognition of the Lord’s provision. Hannah, was a woman who was so loved by her husband that even though she could not have children, he loved her even more. He honestly didn’t care whether she could have children or not. Hannah’s desire to provide her husband with a son, was secondary to her desire to have a son that served the Lord.
She continued to seek God…she didn’t grow hard, or mad, or worry….she just kept seeking God, and praying. She begged God for a son…to serve in the temple. She devoted him to service even before his birth.
When the Lord finally gave her a son, she didn’t forget her promise
1 Samuel 1:27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there.

1 Samuel 3:7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD : The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
I was thinking about the message Jen gave about the sheep knowing the shepherds voice. Each shepherd had a call that was VERY recognizable to the sheep….even individual sheep would have a certain call, that was specific to them. Samuel who had been serving in the temple, had not yet heard the voice of God or known what it would sound like because;
1 Samuel 1:1b In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.
But because of his faithfulness with the word of God….
1 Samuel 3:21 The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.

In chapter 4 Eli’s sons were killed in battle, as the lord had told Samuel, Eli died because he was heavy and old and he fell off his chair when he heard that the Ark had been captured by the Philistines.

The Philistines places the Ark (where God dwelled) in Dagons temple. Dagon was the god of choice for the Philistines. They came to pay homage to him.
1 Samuel 5:3 When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. 4 But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained.

Eventually after being assed from tribe to tribe…the Philistines decided it would be better to return the Ark to the Israelites than to risk being killed by the God of the Israelites.

1 Samuel 7:12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far has the LORD helped us." 13 So the Philistines were subdued and did not invade Israelite territory again.

This verse was captured in a Hymn (Come thou Fount) we sing from time to time.
Here I raise my Ebenezer;

Here by Thy great help I’ve come;

And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,

Safely to arrive at home.

Ebenezer was known, or named this because it was the stone of help. It memorialized God helping the Israelites, and literally means, “thus far, God has led us”.
When we sing the old hymn, we should understand we are acknowledging God help in our own lives.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Missio Intensive

Just got back from Denver yesterday from the Missio Intensive Conference. These are the guys that wrote the book, Tangible Kingdom. I came back with a few new perspectives on the church...and figured I better write them down before I forget them.

Lots of people in the pews who go to church...but dont know why. We need to move them from that position to;
I'm willing to lay down my life for the Kingdom of God.

Offense vs. Defense
As a church culture, we have largely become defensive in the way we do church. The way we 'defend' our faith, or 'hide' the word in our hearts. Not to mention 'home school' and the "Christian Bubble' (which really does exist).
Why do we circle the wagons and try to keep sin out of church, out of our homes, and out of our school environments. Jesus was never scared or put off by sin...as a matter of fact, he ate with sinners, partied with sinners, and was friends and teacher to sinners. Yet we have closed off our world to them.
We know, that the gates of Hell will not overcome the Kingdom of God....so why do we act like they are. What have gates EVER overcome...nothing, they are defensive.
Offensive- Conspire (against the gates of Hell), Collaborate, and Create (means by which to have victories over hell)

Our generation is crying for relief from the system we have created.

4 Paradigm shifts
How to vs Want to- people dont share there lives and ultimately Christ, because they dont want to. Its inconvenient, its messy, it involves being selfless instead of selfish.
Coming to Going- we've always just opened the door and people came to church. But we are a sent people. We need to be going.
Protection to Proclamation- see above Offense vs.Defense
Relevance to Influence- use our relevance to influence people.

Church people are different than kingdom people- see the 80-20 rule.

3 E's
Expose- to the crisis via seeing, testimony and participation
Experience-getting hands dirty
Engage-once we've been exposed to and experienced the need...we are more likely to become engaged and even champion a cause.

As a church, ANC has been and will continue to push the 3 E's. There are needs and crisis all around us, we just need to need to know where to look, know that it is okay to help, and just be willing to jump in and try...even if that means failing.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Great Lineage

Ruth4:17 The women living there said, "Naomi has a son." And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

It’s amazing yet not surprising that God intertwined these people of great character, and from the end (or the beginning), created the lineage of David and in turn Jesus. I think it’s a great reminder of God’s Sovereignty. God took a man, Boaz….and thrust him into the lineage of Jesus, because he did the ‘right’ thing.

I read that Ruth being a Moabite was under a curse; Deut.23:3 No Ammonite or Moabite or any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD, even down to the tenth generation.
And that the ‘unnamed redeemer’ was powerless to save Ruth. He represents the LAW. And the ten witnesses represent the 10 commandments.

Ruth was basically redeemed by Grace. Isn’t it amazing the continuing theme of Grace that runs through the entire bible and points again and again to Jesus and His plan of ultimate redemption.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cost of Following

Ruth 1
Great picture of Lordship. Last Sunday, at ANC, Brandon talked about the aspects of accepting Christ as Lord and Savior. That they go hand in hand. You cannot accept Christ as Savior if you aren’t willing to make him Lord. I believe this is where most people get the notion of their ‘Christiandom’ without true faith. This is where Cheap Grace comes from. Grace is truly not cheap if you truly make Christ Lord….because there is a cost, and the cost is high.
Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, after the death of all the husbands in the family said the following;
Ruth 1:16-17 "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me."
What a great picture of Lordship….or even a marriage covenant. There is a great cost to what Ruth has said she would do.
I wonder what Ruth was thinking as Naomi addressed the people in Bethlehem in verse 21 I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty.
The Lord provided Naomi with a daughter-in-law who made this awesome covenant, basically reminding me of the Lords promise to “never leave us or forsake us” and she says she is empty.
How self focused and wrapped up in herself to say this in front of Ruth…I am sure Ruth was very gracious, allowing her mother-in-law the time she needed to grieve. But Ruth had loss too.
Seriously, what do we ever have to complain about…..yet we do. Can you think of one thing that we complain about….that in the eternal scheme of things, doesn’t sound so stupid? Cost of living, gas prices, stock market, seriously…I can’t think of anything that when compared to Christ’s sacrifice doesn’t sound so self-focussed and petty.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What is Right?

Judges 21:25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Amplified- every man did what was right in his own eyes.
Message- People did whatever they felt like doing.

You know most translations, even the Greek reads that men did what they thought was RIGHT. Men weren’t outright trying to be bad…or looking for mischief or corruption, they were trying to live correctly.
When left to our own ways…we are drawn to things in opposition to God. I don’t know why. This doesn’t seem to be a new problem. The Israelites, David, Solomon (supposedly one of the wisest men) all expose this problem.

Let’s draw ourselves closer to God, closer to his word, closer to others who are walking with him…… lean not on our own understanding, and in all our ways acknowledge him.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

We'll do this...and we'll do that

Judges 20:17 Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand swordsmen, all of them fighting men.

We’ve seen in the past, God doesn’t need huge numbers to carry out his plan.
When God was at the front (just a few chapters ago)
Judges 7:7 The LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands.
Did any catch the difference in language;
Judges 20:9 But now this is what we'll do to Gibeah: We'll go up against it as the lot directs.
In this chapter, they are no longer seeking God first…they are arming themselves, consulting lots, and checking with God after the fact.

God may we always seek you first. Sometimes, as men, our knee-jerk reaction is to just handle things….but I pray for reminders, even in the heat of battle, to bring it all to God.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Total Depravity

Judges 19
Similar story to Genesis 19 when Lot was hosting the ‘angels’ in Sodom, the writer of Judges is making a clear correlation between modern day Israel and Sodom. Where not just a single male was wanting to engage in sexual domination…but an entire mob. I believe the writer is saying….Sodom was bad, but modern day Israel, without a king, is exponentially worse than Sodom.
How soon after the inhabitation of the “promised land” do the people of God fall into total depravity….not long. A singular act of depravity would be one thing….but so much is going on here.
The concubine was unfaithful
The Levite was a bad/unloving husband (see #’s 6&7)
The city of Gibeah and no hospitality
The host offered up his virgin daughter and the guest’s concubine
The Levite gave up his concubine to protect himself (cowardice)
The Levite slept while his concubine was being raped all night long
The Levite emotionless picked up his dead concubine and packed her on a donkey
The Levite dismembered his concubine
The Levite sent parts of her body throughout Israel
I wonder if there is more sin and depravity that is within the story. I wonder if I missed it. I wonder too….if we become so focused on the BIG sins…(i.e. rape and dismemberment) that we lose focus on the fact that this Levite must have been a bad husband, for his wife to stray and become unfaithful. Also, the Levite when leaving his father-in-law’s home gathered his property;
Judges 19:10 But, unwilling to stay another night, the man left and went toward Jebus (that is, Jerusalem), with his two saddled donkeys and his concubine.
Notice his concubine is placed in the writing after the donkeys. Order of importance? Guys, there is so much in this story that started with this man’s (the Levite’s) lack of devotion to his wife.
God help up love our wives, be better husbands, be better fathers. God, in this current day….when we hear stories of depravity…even total depravity…..let it not overshadow our own depravity.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ill-Gotten Gain

The old preacher used to say…”if he isn’t Lord OF all…..he isn’t Lord AT all!”

I find myself wrestling with what Brandon preached on last night…and accepting the ‘fire insurance’ without giving up ‘lordship’. Its so true and its kinda like what the Danites have done here in Judges 18. They say they are following God, but they have no clue what that even looks like.

They are merely going through the motions, doing things in the “name of God” and seeking his favor after the fact.

Judges 18:10 When you get there, you will find an unsuspecting people and a spacious land that God has put into your hands, a land that lacks nothing whatever."

I think of the term, “ill-gotten gain”.
The Danites relied on their own military might, not the will and direction and hand of God. They picked out and EASY military target, attacked them unsuspectingly, and of course won…and rebuilt the city, and placed their newfound idols, and put their priest in place..and worshipped there. Then;

31 They continued to use the idols Micah had made, all the time the house of God was in Shiloh.

Shiloh is where they were suppose to worship God. The Danites set up their own gods, place of worship and priest to make it easier. I have heard this repeated by sincere people time after time….I don’t need to go to church to worship God. I can worship God while fishing, working in the yard, hunting….which is all true…but when you find yourself not wanting to be ‘in community’ with God’s people, I find that you are not wanting to submit yourself to God’s lordship.

Friday, September 19, 2008

American Idols

Judges 17:13 And Micah said, "Now I know that the LORD will be good to me, since this Levite has become my priest."

This manner of thinking is so….current day and American, isn’t it? People believe that if they can befriend a priest, pastor, or other spiritual person that their spirituality will rub off on them.
Micah felt like the Lord was at this priest’s disposal and he could dole God out like candy. Micah believed that his spirituality depended on the proximity to one who knew the Lord…not on actually knowing the Lord himself.
This was just another in a long list (in a short chapter mind you) of idols Micah had.
1. Stolen silver

2. Idol made of silver

3. Ephod

4. Some other idols

5. His son (as priest)

6. Levite priest

God let us be aware of the things we think too highly of. Don’t allow us to put faith in anything but you. Money will fail, men will fail, health will fail….but the Word of the Lord endures forever!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stir us

Now we all know the story of Samson and Delilah….and the source of Samson’s strength. He was a Nazarite, set apart for the work of God. Being a Nazarite, he was never to have his hair cut….and his long hair was the source of his strength….or was it?

Judges 16:20 So Samson when he woke up from his sleep and thought, "I'll go out as before and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had left him.
So it wasn’t his hair that gave him strength, but the power of the Lord in him. I wonder if Samson actually thought that he had this ‘superhuman’ strength from his hair, because he had had it (the hair and the strength) so long that he equated what he (Samson) was in control of (his hair) with a gift he was given for God’s glory (his strength).
I was reminded of the man at the Sheepsgate Pool…who lay paralyzed for 38 years. He believed and put his faith in the ‘Pool’ and the water. When Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed, his reply was “I have no one to throw me in the water”. The man, when confronted with Jesus, the healer, had looked for so long at the pool and the healing waters…that he forgot that it was actually the power of God who heals. So Jesus, reminds him that it is God who stirs the waters when he tells him to get up.

At some point Samson remembers the source of his strength and he prays
"O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes."

I pray that we never lose sight of the fact that God is at work at ANC. All of our planning, strategies, budgets, demographic studies, blood, sweat and tears…amount to the same as a lock of hair, or a pool of water. Without God at work in ANC….we would not see lives changed, people healing, true religion happening. Take all the glory, Father….because it is yours anyway. Stir the waters of ANC, so that men and women flock to You, not to us.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In HIS Strength

Judges 12-15 They said to him, "We've come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines." Samson said, "Swear to me that you won't kill me yourselves."
"Agreed," they answered. "We will only tie you up and hand you over to them. We will not kill you." So they bound him with two new ropes and led him up from the rock. As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.

Samson had previously experienced the power of the Spirit of the Lord…and he placed his faith in that power once again as he allowed himself to be taken from the cave and bound with new ropes. I want to live in that power. Knowing that I have that power in my back pocket.

Samson had great strength, but in order for God to glorify himself, Samson had to be bridled. When we operate in our strengths, its easy for us to take glory for the victories. But a constant theme in the Bible is, that in our weakness, He is made strong.

I love what has been going on in the life of ANC. God is using Hurricane IKE to galvanize two communities. The families we hosted from Houston were amazed at the level of love, encouragement and support they received from us. God, laid it on our hearts to host, help and give generously.

Our church community is also rising to the challenge. Allowing complete strangers full access to their homes and lives is a stretching time for a lot of people, myself included. But the folk’s we are hosting feel as if they are “living like kings”…in the words of one of them. Another one told me, “in our wildest dreams, we don’t dream of living in a home like yours”…..

What a great picture of heaven. When we get there…I am sure….our finite thoughts of ‘streets of gold’ wont hold a candle to the actual beauty and splendor of the home God has waiting for us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Two more things on IKE

So we had two families staying with us. One was a pastor and his wife...and his dad. The other were a couple and a daughter. The ladies were friends from work. So very first night, we had a great discussion on religion, the differences between Catholic and Baptists, communion, baptism among other things. Boni, the pastor asked me to close our discussion before bedtime in prayer....and I agreed if he would also in Spanish. During his prayer, he inquired if anyone wanted to have salvation and Irene said yes....and he led her in a sweet prayer. Right there in my living room, with the Weather Channel on, Irene (a 45 year old (mas o menos) hair dresser) made Christ the Lord of her life....without knowing all the answers, without learning more about God, without cleaning up before she came.... she just said, God I want to know you, like I have never known you before. I want you to come into my life and save me...and I want to make you Lord. Whatever that means down the road....we'll figure it out, but I trust you and take you up on your offer of new life.

Second thing, we are going back. We have started this relationship with these folks and we want to be a blessing to them....to help them, to help them help others. We have set up a fund on www.paypal.com enter donate@southaustincares.org go there and help if you can.

Ike Relief (donate@southaustincares.org via paypal)

A group of us travelled yesterday to Houston, Pasadena and Galveston County, to provide disaster relief. We arrived in Houston pretty late...but met a group of about 25 families at the church of one of the pastors staying at my house.

We carried things like ice, water, beans, rice, canned tuna and chicken, paper goods, crackers and bread. Of course the ice went first…..we had carried about 10 coolers each containing 6 huge bags of ice…and although I had always heard that it was a commodity….it was of course the first thing that people asked us for….especially after we ran out.

Okay, so first things first, we went by Lewis Signs and got our red “DISASTER RELIEF” signs plastered on our trailers, so that we would have an easier time in any checkpoints and running around after curfew. Then we made a Sam’s run to get all the goods. We had about 8 of those flatbed carts filled with all the stuff we were buying. In the meantime….people were coming up to those of us outside and giving money for “the cause”. Funny how God places compassion within all of us in times of need.

We only filled up one of the two trailers...so we went back for more.

So we got off to a later than anticipated start, but we rolled into Houston before dark and got to hand out food at the church. Then we did some individual drop offs. The most amazing thing was how well, people were taking their situation, looking out for each other, calling on neighbors to come get stuff from us. We had one guy lead us to another family who had a newborn (who needed some diapers that we had) and Brandon delivered them to the door, got to meet the family and had time to share what we were doing and prayed with them.

You know, I thought about God glorifying himself in disaster and I realized and witnessed it happening first hand. As we roll up in our trucks with trailers, folk knew we were a church organization. We simply met a basic need…..food and water…maybe some ice and chicken…but overwhelmingly the thing I heard most from the people we were serving was, “God Bless y’all! Thank you”. I don’t know the faith backgrounds of everyone we served. But like me, they are on a ‘journey’. Whether they know God or not, they are walking through life…and I pray that as we went…made ourselves…our resources….our time available to them…that the Kingdom of God, became more Tangible for them.

I noticed one guy at the last apartment complex we went to, told us no less than 5 times….”thank you guys so much, God Bless y’all”. No doubt he saw Christ last night.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Secret Sin

Judges 14:5-6 As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat.

A couple of observations. Samson, upon killing the lion, went against the law which said NOT to touch anything dead. As a Nazarite, this contact would so defile you that you would have to basically start the Nazarine process over. But instead…..Samson…just didn’t tell his parents.

This is a lot like us…the sin that goes unnoticed…by others, our family members, of friends..we just continue on, sometimes like it didn’t even happen. We may secretly ask forgiveness from God, but harbored or hidden sins have a way of creeping back into our lives.

Also Samson shouldn’t be considering marriage to this Philistine woman, because she was a foreigner and she worshipped other gods. God specifically said not to ‘intermarry’. But Samson is doing his own thing.

So when Samson was on his way back to see his wife ….again he defiled himself by reaching in the dead lion and scooped out some honey. This time, not only did he defile himself, but he defiled his parents. Here is the danger of secret sin….unwilligly including others in them. Had Samson confessed his sin to his parents in the first place…they would have been in a position to protect him on the way back by. As it was….not only did Samson sin…but his parents were unknowingly sinning as well.

God I pray you put those in our lives, who ask us the tough questions….who hold us accountable, who don’t let sin go unnoticed. We know that Satan is like the lion in the story, seeking to kill and destroy us…and its only in your power that we can overcome him.

Friday, September 12, 2008

"I Shot the Sheriff"

WARNING WARNING today’s posting has little to no spiritual significance WARNING WARNING
Judges 13:7 Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from birth until the day of his death.' "
A couple of interesting points. One is the at Nazarites, even Manoah’s wife who was told she would give birth to a child, even though she had been sterile, were to be set apart. She was told to basically adhere to the Nazarite ‘code’ and to avoid wine and unclean food.
Nazarites as part of their vow, were to abstain from not only wines…but also grapes, raisins or any derivative of grapes. They were to say away from unclean food and corpses as well. Nor could they cut there hair.
In reading about Nazarites, I found an odd thing….Rustafaris derive some of their customs from the ways of the Nazarites. From their diets, to not having wine to obviously not cutting their hair. Some even believe Samson to have had dreadlocks (due to a description of having 7 locks upon his head).
I know when you think Rastafarians, you think Bob Marley, Jamaica and smoking cannabis (or weed, pot, grass, the Devil’s cabbage etc.). Let me assure you, I have no desire to partake of the herb, but even the Rasta’s believe their smoking pot is justified in the Bible:
Genesis 1:11 "And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so."
Genesis 3:18 "... thou shalt eat the herb of the field."
Proverbs 15:17 "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith."[2]
Psalms 104:14 "He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man."
You know sometimes you start down and road and you se where it takes you…..here is where I ended up this morning. I’ll try to do better tommorow. But you were WARNED!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Words and Deeds

Judges 10:15-16 But the Israelites said to the LORD, "We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now." Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And he could bear Israel's misery no longer.

I’m not sure if this the first time…that I sense repentance rather than just remorse.

John MacArthur wrote: "Genuine repentance acknowledges God’s right to chasten, so His punishment is seen as just and He is thereby glorified. It also seeks the remediation that chastening brings, because genuine contrition pursues holiness."

The Israelites not only were remorseful, but sensed that God’s justice and His punishment were better than living without His presence. They threw themselves at his feet not expecting mercy, yet knowing God was merciful.

Then, taking it a step further, they proactively turned to God not only in their words…but in their deeds, when they got rid of the foreign gods. This represented not only a spiritual turning but a public acknowledgement that they had blown it.

How many times have I offered up carefully scripted prayers, thought about my offense and prayed for forgiveness, yet didn’t remove the sources of my sin. How many times have I accepted the mercy and grace God offers, then turn right around and prove myself unworthy of either.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Who is your King?

Judges 9:56 Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelech had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers.

I read that the name Abimelech literally means…my father is King. The name though is a bit ambiguous….when Gideon named Abimelech, was he referring to himself or to God as king.

Now I don’t know the actually meanings of my kids names….but have I projected a posture of God being my Lord and King….or do I, as did Gideon (with the Ephod) project myself and my accomplishments. My prayer is constantly to be showing and leading my kids to understand that our authority is under the headship of Christ.

I certainly don’t want to raise a couple of Abimelechs….and although I don’t always success in emulating Christ, I do constantly press on to become more like Him. The way I relate to them, to their mother..and the way they see me relate to others is constantly a witness to them. There is (or should be) no doubt as to who is my master, who is my Lord and my God.