Saturday, June 30, 2007

Peace in the Valley

Mountain tops can be overrated sometimes. Sure the view is fantastic and it's always amazing how far you can see from a mountain top but the the valley isn't such a bad place to be either. We like to say things like, I'm going through the valley right now, or I'm down in the valley right now as if the valley is a bad place to be.

Let's compare some differences between the valley and the mountain top...

  1. The top of the mountain is windy, the valley is calm and peaceful.

  2. The view is great looking down, but it's just as spectacular looking up.

  3. On the top of a mountain it's lonely, but in the valley there's company.

  4. The risk of falling and getting hurt is far greater on the mountain top than in the valley.

  5. There's no way to go but down after reaching the mountain top, but you can always move up when your in the valley.

  6. On the mountain top we're exposed, in the valley we're protected.

You know it's really all in the way you look at things. Is your glass half empty or is it half full? Once I had a supervisor that had informed me of an upcoming program that we were taking on. The changes would be difficult to communicate and execute and I guess my attitude toward the new changes were reflected by my words when I said. "Do I have to do this?" He said, "No, you don't have to do it, you get to do it." Well that made me chuckle but I've often thought about the difference in how my attitude can change in just the way I decide to look at things . How do we handle stress? How do we handle difficulties and set backs? How do we handle new challenges that come our way?

We often look at our stress or mishaps as being in the valley, but it's only when we're in the valley that we look up, isn't it. When we're on top we look down, when we're at the bottom we look up. Look up to God and seek His face. He's there waiting for us to ask for His help. The valley can be a wonderful peaceful place if you see it from God's perspective.

Isaiah 32:18 says... My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What Do I Pray For?

Have you ever struggled with what to pray for? This happens sometimes to me as I begin to pray, I seem to come to a point where I don’t know what to say or what to ask for anymore. It can be frustrating sometimes but we have to remember that God knows we struggle in our weakness. He knows that we will struggle with what to pray for, he knows we won’t always be able know what is best and so many times we are struggling with decisions that can change the course of our life and we just don’t know what to do.

Romans 8:26,27
(26) In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
(27) And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

So the next time you are struggling with what to pray for, just let the Holy Spirit intercede for you. As we can see from the above verses, we do not know what we ought to pray for. So we must take our concerns and our struggles to the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to intercede for us. When we do this the Spirit searches our heart and even groans for us in ways we can’t understand. I especially like the fact that the Spirit intercedes for us in accordance with God’s will. So actually it’s not a bad thing for us when we don’t know what to pray for.

The next time this happens to you, take comfort in knowing that the Spirit will help you with the decision you face and even more importantly you can trust that when the Spirit prays for you it will always be in accordance with God’s will.

Prayer: (I’ll leave this prayer up to you, remember, allow the Holy Spirit to interceded for you, just ask Him to search your heart and to pray on your behalf for your needs)

Friday, June 22, 2007

I Promise

In today’s society, our sinful world, you never know who you can trust. In my younger days, I was very naive. I guess that’s the innocence of living in an environment of protection within the close confines of my loving family. When my folks told me they were going to do something, well I could take it to the bank. If Mom said we were going to go to the park to play today, then I could count on it happening. If my Dad told me we were going fishing today. I knew we were going fishing. There was no doubt.

Sadly though as the father of my own children, I can’t say that I was that consistent. I know of times that I was intending to go do this or do that with my kids and things would come up that would change my agenda. This usually happened as a result of having my hands in too many projects. But what this did was create an environment where my sons couldn't trust my word. It didn’t happen often, but the point is, it doesn’t have too. If we do not follow through with our word even once, we create doubt or a lack of trust in those that were counting on us. We shouldn’t have to use the words… “I promise,” at the end of our sentence to make other feel more comfortable with the commitment we just made. Today’s verses take a look at the importance of telling the truth and keeping our promises.

Matthew 5:33-37
(33) “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “Do not break your oath, but keep oaths you have made to the Lord.”
(34) But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
(35) or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
(36) And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.
(37) Simply let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No”; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Here, Jesus was emphasizing the importance of telling the truth. People were breaking promises and using sacred language casually and carelessly. Keeping promises is so very important. Keeping promises help to build relationships and develop trust within those relationships. The bible has a lot to say about keeping our promises. It condemns making vows or taking oaths casually, giving your word when you know you won’t keep it, or swearing falsely in God’s name. (Exodus 20:7, Leviticus 19:12, Numbers 30:1,2, Deuteronomy 19:16-20). Oaths and vows were common, but Jesus told his followers not to use them. Their word alone should be enough.

How do others take your word? Do they believe that you’ll keep your word and follow through on what you say? Are you known as a person of your word? It’s sad but truthfulness seems so rare anymore that we feel we have to try and convince people we will do what we say we’re going to do. We say things like, you can trust me, or I promise, at the end of our statements and we vow to follow through on them. Our society breeds distrust, so were often trying to get others to believe in us and trust our word. If we would tell the truth all the time, we would have less pressure to back up our words with an oath or a promise.

I know in my own life, these verses hit really close to home. I’m reminded of my own weaknesses and opportunities that I have in this area. My hope and prayer is that I will be more aware of my words and my commitments and really begin to see the impact my lack of follow through on my commitments can have on my friends and family. I need to follow the example of Jesus and His words. How would I feel if I couldn’t depend on my Lord and Savior to follow through with His commitments to me. If I couldn’t count on Jesus and rely on his truth in His word, then I wouldn’t have any faith in my eternal life. I wouldn’t be able to count on His power and strength getting me through the difficult times in my life. I would lose all hope. But because we can rely on the word of God, I can live my life with peace and comfort. I have no fears or doubts about my future, because Christ has promised me eternal life and I know I can take that to the bank. His word never fails.

Prayer: Help me to always speak the truth, and to always follow through and do what I say I’m going to do. Lord may my “Yes” be “Yes” and my “No” be “No.” May I not be one that feels the need to tack on an oath at the end of my statements so people can trust me and be able to count on me. Thank you Lord for this lesson today. It’s in Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Father's Wise Advise

Today I came across Proverbs Chapter 4 during my bible study and this chapter really spoke to me. You see this last Sunday was Father's Day. My son had written me a very touching letter for Father's Day and the jest of the letter was that he wished he had listen more to my advice and council over the years. He shared with me how much he wished he had followed the examples that I gave him as I lived my life and dealt with issues and overcame obstacles as they came my way. Often I would coach my son on very valuable life lessons and give him sound advice based off my life lessons that I had learned or were taught by my Dad as well. Remember I once was his age and as difficult as it may seem to our children, we really do know what they're going through, even though they think we don't. We were young once and often foolish in our decision making. We paid the price for our mistakes and suffered the consequences. So when we give our children advise or council, it would be wise if they would listen carefully and adhere to our instruction. But sadly, quite often they don't. Just like us when we were young, I guess they feel they know best or maybe they just don't understand the seriousness of what were talking about. Whatever it is, our children suffer consequences they could have avoided if only they had listened and paid attention to the advice of their parents.

God's word gives us very clear advise in Chapter 4 of Proverbs. If only all of us would have followed this advice from King Solomon. Maybe we wouldn't be in such pain from the silly or stupid things we do that end up costing us such pain and suffering.

No matter what your age... young or old. Listen to your Father! Listen to your Parents! Seek their advice and council and obey it. As you read this passage of scripture, I hope you hear the persistent plea to listen carefully and pay attention to our Father's correction. God is telling us the consequences of turning away from our Father's sound advise and instruction will put us in the council of evil. Our Parents advice can save us from much pain and suffering, but sadly we often realize it too late. Your parents are not your enemy, they are your greatest allies, especially when we are young.

Pro 4:1 My children, listen to me. Listen to your father's instruction. Pay attention and grow wise,

Pro 4:2 for I am giving you good guidance. Don't turn away from my teaching.

Pro 4:3 For I, too, was once my father's son, tenderly loved by my mother as an only child.
Pro 4:4
My father told me, "Take my words to heart. Follow my instructions and you will live.
Pro 4:5
Learn to be wise, and develop good judgment. Don't forget or turn away from my words.
Pro 4:6
Don't turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you.
Pro 4:7
Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do! And whatever else you do, get good judgment.
Pro 4:8
If you prize wisdom, she will exalt you. Embrace her and she will honor you.
Pro 4:9
She will place a lovely wreath on your head; she will present you with a beautiful crown."
Pro 4:10
My child, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life.
Pro 4:11
I will teach you wisdom's ways and lead you in straight paths.
Pro 4:12
If you live a life guided by wisdom, you won't limp or stumble as you run.
Pro 4:13
Carry out my instructions; don't forsake them. Guard them, for they will lead you to a fulfilled life.
Pro 4:14
Do not do as the wicked do or follow the path of evildoers.
Pro 4:15
Avoid their haunts. Turn away and go somewhere else,
Pro 4:16
for evil people cannot sleep until they have done their evil deed for the day. They cannot rest unless they have caused someone to stumble.
Pro 4:17
They eat wickedness and drink violence!
Pro 4:18
The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.
Pro 4:19
But the way of the wicked is like complete darkness. Those who follow it have no idea what they are stumbling over.
Pro 4:20
Pay attention, my child, to what I say. Listen carefully.
Pro 4:21
Don't lose sight of my words. Let them penetrate deep within your heart,
Pro 4:22
for they bring life and radiant health to anyone who discovers their meaning.
Pro 4:23
Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.
Pro 4:24
Avoid all perverse talk; stay far from corrupt speech.
Pro 4:25
Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
Pro 4:26
Mark out a straight path for your feet; then stick to the path and stay safe.
Pro 4:27
Don't get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.

PRAYER: Dear Lord! Please help me to to listen to my Father's advice and council. Help me to let go of my pride and always remember that my parents love me and only want the best for me. Thank you for this advice from King Solomon. His words are as true and accurate today as they were then. Please Lord, may we head them and take them to heart. Amen.

Monday, June 18, 2007

God is always there

Last week I was traveling back home to Kansas and I was reminded of the last time that I flew. That day it was raining and the weather was turning very nasty. The rain and the dark skies were really scary looking and I remember the wind being very strong that day as well. I was a little uncomfortable with idea of getting on this airplane and taking off in this weather. But I had to.
After getting on the plane I looked out the window and instead of getting lighter as the day went on it was getting darker by the minute. We were in the middle of a very severe storm. I was a little anxious. I have flown many times before and I rarely get nervous or anxious, but this time was different, the storm was bad.
As we took off down the runway, I could hardly see anything out of my window, a kind of hazy fog and dark clouds and lots of rain made it difficult to see anything. As we began to lift as we took off we could immediately feel the plane shift from the wind. We would dip some and it felt like we were sliding sideways once in a while. It appeared that the pilot had a difficult time keeping us flying straight through the air. As we gained altitude the turbulence became very bad. We were tossed about, suddenly lifting and dropping with some strong bumps every once in a while.
Finally, we gained enough altitude to get us above the clouds and what happened next was really amazing. You see the storm we were just in had many of us scared and worried, but then suddenly the sun was shining and all the bumps, wind, rain and darkness was gone. Just like that! All was calm and for the rest of the flight and it was amazingly comfortable and smooth.

This whole experience reminded me that even when things appear to all be going wrong… well, the sun is still shining! God is always there. You see, when I was below the clouds I’d forgotten how nice it was just a few miles above me. The sun was shining and all was OK. Even though I was in a storm at the time, The sun was still shining above me, I just couldn't see it.
It’s the same way with God sometimes, we’re going through the storm of our lives and all appears to be doom and gloom. We just feel all alone and we can’t see our way out of the mess we’re in. Those storms can weigh us down and scare us to death, but we need to always remember this… God is always there. We may not see him at the time, but he is there, He is constant and his love never fails. So the next time you are going through trials that make you wonder… “Where is God in all this?” Think of this plane ride that I took and remember that in an instant, very suddenly, the storm can be over and the peace of God can comfort you when it just doesn’t seem possible. God is always shining His light! Press on through the storm to the peace on the other side. It’s there, it really is!

May God bless you as you travel through life and may He lift you out of the storm and comfort you in your time of need.

Monday, June 4, 2007

The ultimate fish story

I love the story of four fisherman that were called to be Disciples of Jesus. It reminds me that Jesus is in control of all things. After all He is master of everything, the waves, the wind, the world and everything in it obeys Jesus when He commands it. Even the fish are under His control as we'll see in this passage of scripture. Lets take a look at Luke 5:1-11 and see how Jesus gets the attention of these fishermen.

Luk 5:1
SO it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret,
Luk 5:2
and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets.
Luk 5:3
Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.
Luk 5:4
When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."
Luk 5:5
But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net."
Luk 5:6
And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.
Luk 5:7
So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
Luk 5:8
When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"
Luk 5:9
For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken;
Luk 5:10
and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men."
Luk 5:11
So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

Can you imagine this scene, here Jesus is standing by the Lakes edge with tons of people pressing in closer and closer to him just waiting to hear the word of God. I mean people everywhere! The bible says, "multitudes pressed about him." But where were the fisherman? We read that most of the fisherman had left, however Simon was still with the boat. The other fishermen were washing their nets after a long night of fishing. Jesus goes up there gets in one of the two fishing boats and asked Simon to put the boat out a little ways from the shore so he can speak to the crowds. So here's Simon and Jesus in the boat, and Jesus begins to teach the word of God to the people gathered on the shore.

I find it very interesting that of all the people gathering around to hear the word of God from Jesus, Simon and the other fisherman were not even interested, they we're more concerned about getting their work done. I can imagine they just wanted to get the nets cleaned up and prepared for the next nights fishing trip. These men were not there to hear from God, they were there doing their work. But Jesus jumps right in the middle of their work.

As Jesus is preaching to the people He stops preaching and tells Simon to "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." This is where Simon chuckled to himself as he rolled his eyes and said, "Jesus your crazy, I'm the fisherman here, yes you are a fantastic preacher and even a great healer, I mean look at these crowds that follow you because of your healing power, but Jesus you need to leave the fishing to me. That's my specialty man. I've been out all night long and there's just nothing out there, especially this time of day, I mean who in their right mind fishes during the middle of the day anyway? It just makes no sense, let me take you back to shore."

Well I guess that might be what Jesus would hear if he'd asked me to let down the nets, I mean this makes no sense does it? But what does Simon really say? He says... "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing: nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net."

Why does Simon go? Well for one he addresses Jesus as Master! This statement in itself allows us to catch a glimpse of how Simon feels about Jesus. He understands that Jesus is powerful and far greater than he is and he concedes that Jesus is Master. Jesus also speaks with authority. He gets in the boat and even though he ask Simon to put out a little from the shore, it's not like Simon really has an option here. And now here Jesus is telling him to go out deep and drop the nets for fish! Simon can't help but make a comment here about the lack of results they've already had, but since the "Master" wants me to I will do it. Do you sense that Simon thinks he's going to catch anything? No we don't do we? Simon's pretty sure nothings going to happen, that why he's warning Jesus, "hey look, don't expect much here."

What happens next is simply amazing! They caught so much fish that the nets were breaking! Simon signals to the other partners in the other boat to come and help.

Can you picture the others in the boat near the shore, they got to be wondering what in the world Simon is doing out there fishing with Jesus in the middle of the day? Now they're being signaled to come and help? Help with what? Are they catching Fish? So they go and of course we see that their boat was filled full like the first boat, so much so that they both begin to sink!

What happen next can only happen when you realize that you are in the presence of almighty God in the flesh! WHEN SIMON PETER SAW IT, he fell down at Jesus knees saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" Simon saw it with his own eyes, he experienced a miracle that could not have happened any other way than for Jesus to command it to happen. Even the fish obey this man named Jesus! Now Jesus the name of Jesus has changed in the mind of Simon. Jesus went from "Master" to LORD! As Simon's Master, he did what he was told, but now Jesus is Lord of his life! Simon has seen firsthand what this man Jesus is... He is LORD. This has such an impact on ones life when we realize that Jesus is LORD doesn't it? Everyone there was astonished and amazed and Jesus must have even sensed their fear during this amazing experience... Jesus says... "Do not be afraid, From now on you will catch men."

Notice, no talking back now is there? But Jesus you have the wrong man, But Jesus I'm not a good speaker, But Jesus I know nothing about catching men, apparently I don't know much about catching fish anymore either, but Lord you don't want me. No. The only proper response when Jesus calls us is one of immediate obedience. What's the bible say? "So when they brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed him." They left their homes, they left their lively hood (their fishing boats) they left everything they had and followed Christ.

WOW! Do you know this Jesus? Did Jesus call you? We're you as obedient as Simon and the others? I believe you were. But what has happened to us today? Are we still as obedient today as the day he called us? Maybe it's time we get back in the boat with Jesus. Maybe it's time we renew our faith and trust in Him and quit leaning on our own understanding and logic. After all, we see that Jesus can do far more than what we can imagine or even understand possible. So lets not limit God working through us, lets go in faith and leave everything else behind. TOTALLY selling out for Christ. Amen

Sunday, June 3, 2007

What's the world coming to?

I'm amazed at the laws that are passed today. Our laws tend to be made to support the squeaky wheel rather than following any moral, ethical or especially biblical standard any more. The problem for our society of course is that those that want to live a certain way will do whatever it takes to twist verses in the bible to support or at least give them a sense of peace that what they are doing is OK. We focus on the fact that God is love, but He is also Judge and He has clearly given us values and ethics for how we should live in His word. We focus on the fact that these verses were written so many years ago when the laws and and lifestyles were different, and some believe they simply just don't apply to our culture now. As with any sin in our lives we want to desperately justify it if we can to make us feel better about ourselves and of course, this in some way helps us feel better as we continue to live in our sin. We have this false sense that we'll be alright, because after all, The bible is a book about God's love isn't it? Unfortunately when we focus on one sin over another, people will always bring up the fact that, well this sin is just as bad and yet many Christians are doing that sin etc., so people ask why is this sin any worse or more of a sin? The answer to that of course is... It's not. Sin is sin, whether we've made it socially acceptable or not, Sin is sin. The great news however that is common throughout scripture is that God understands that we struggle with sin and He offers forgiveness when we realize we're sinning and confess it and ask for forgiveness. He will forgive us. The hope here is that we will turn away from the sin, rather than keep on keeping on with it. The only reason we would ask for forgiveness of any sin would be because we realize it's wrong in the first place. So why am I rambling on about all this...

Yesterday in the news I saw on TV where a woman was denied her application to be considered as a candidate for placement on an Internet dating service where they match up profiles of each person and hopefully the match will be such that when they get together and start dating maybe they will find their perfect mate and quite possibly fall in love and even get married eventually. There seems to be much success with this Company in matching couples. The company is The problem is however is that the woman that was denied access to place her profile on Eharmony was because she is a lesbian and of course she is seeking a relationship with another woman rather than a man. The Company sent her a letter of response stating that their data and experience is for matching up men and women. Their success has been on the premise of a man and a women getting together, not a woman and a women, or a man and a man. So basically they are not set up for those kinds of matches. Sorry about that, we can't help you.

Rather than go someplace else for her services, she sues Eharmony for discriminating against Gay people and here we go again!

I understand that the laws we have in place are to protect people of all ages, religions, races, gender and sexual orientation, but when did the law become so that we can't as a business owner sell whatever we want to sell. When did this become an issue that we have to sell merchandise or a service that is acceptable to the gay community, or any other groups of people for that matter? I agree with the laws that are in place that we should not discriminate as an employer in any way because someone may fall into one or more of these protected classes of people. That's a good thing. But to sue someone because they do not carry a product that you want? Crazy. The sad thing though is that this subject has become a very sensitive subject and highly controversial over the years. Because of that reason this thing will be big. It will cause all kinds of debate and hopefully our legal system will be smart and realize that this is wrong. But only time will tell.

The danger here of this kind of writing is that I will be labeled as someone that doesn't like Gay people. That's absurd! I'm just tired of these kinds of examples of twisted logic. The simple truth here is that I believe that we should live by the word of God. I understand that many people don't care about that or believe in that standard. Even as I say... I believe we should live by this standard, I know that I do not do it well. I struggle all the time as does every one else. But the bible is truth, whether we accept it or not, whether we make it socially acceptable or not. In the end, all that will matter on Judgement day is if you are known by Jesus... Does He know you, does He have a relationship with you? The bible tells us that one day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. So that day is coming for every person, every person will confess Jesus as Lord someday. The problem however is, if you have not confessed Jesus as your Lord before your judgement day... it's too late. Jesus will say... "depart from me, I never knew you" and then you'll be cast into the lake of fire. The risk that all of us have by not living by God's standard is that we may not really know Jesus at all. As a child of God, we will be miserable when we're living in sin, we're convicted of our sin. So if we're not convicted of sin that is mentioned in the bible or we find ourselves trying to justify our sin, we are at risk of living for ourselves rather than for God. I think it best to say... Lord forgive me for my sin that you have revealed to me and help me to overcome it in your name. Amen.

To answer the question that I wrote in the title of my post... What's the world coming to? Well the answer to that question is found in the bible as well. I'm afraid things are going to get much much worse, and I believe that there's a time coming when Christians will stop being passive and start speaking out against laws that lead our country down a road that may feel good, but in the end leads us deeper and deeper into sin, which of course is not pleasing to God and we risk losing God's blessings upon our nation and instead we receive His wrath for the way we're living and for what we've become. The days ahead of us will be difficult days for Christians. Christians in the United States have had it easy compared to the persecution they get in other country's, but mark my words, our day is coming. Persecution only comes however, when the Christian puts themselves on the firing line. Are we ready for that?

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father. Forgive me for judgemental attitudes. I know it's wrong of me to do that. Help me to love everyone, and only hate the sin, not the person. After all, we are all sinners, each one of us. There is not one of us better than the other, we're all equally lost and sinful. My hope would be that we all recognize our sin and repent. Then as we live our life for You Lord we will see fruit of the Spirit in and through our lives. In Jesus name I pray. Amen

Saturday, June 2, 2007

I've gotta be me!

When David was about to fight the Philistine named Goliath, Saul, with good intentions tries to arm David with the equipment that he would wear when going into battle, but after David was outfitted with all of his armor and his sword, he couldn't even walk with it. David also says he's not used to it anyway. He'd never worn armor before. So what was good for Saul was a hindrance to David.

So often we just can't see how such tremendous tasks can be accomplished without fitting it into our own understanding and logic. But God doesn't work through us because we comprehend and understand, He works through ordinary people such as David just as he is, putting his faith in God and His wisdom, abilities and strength. Saul only saw David failing to accomplish the task from the very beginning when David stepped forward and proclaimed that he would fight the giant. You see a lot was riding on the outcome of this fight. Let's take a look at the challenge that Goliath cried out to the armies of Israel...

1Sa 17:8
Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, "Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me.
1Sa 17:9
"If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us."

Well, David steps up to the challenge when no one else would. Yes he was the unlikely person in the group that day. A youth among the mighty men of the army, but the men of Israels army were afraid and this fear prevented them from facing the giant. The difference though with David was that when the Philistine defied the armies of the living God, David took offence. David knew he had to take a stand for the living God, and his past experiences had taught him that God would deliver him in this fight.

1Sa 17:32
Then David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine."
1Sa 17:33
And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth."
1Sa 17:34
But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock,
1Sa 17:35
"I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.
1Sa 17:36
"Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God."
1Sa 17:37
Moreover David said, "The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you!"
1Sa 17:38
So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail.
1Sa 17:39
David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, "I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them." So David took them off.

I love this part where David takes off the armor that Saul had given him to protect him from this giant. Saul had heard Davids reason for being confident in his ability to defeat the giant. David had said that it was the Lord that had delivered him in the past and He will again. Saul even told him to go and the Lord be with you, and oh, by the way, take this extra stuff along for your protection. What more protection did David need with the Lord as his protector? None of course, but for Saul, he still didn't understand true faith and trust in God, yet! But David did.

1Sa 17:40
Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.

1Sa 17:45
Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
1Sa 17:46
"This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
1Sa 17:47
"Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD's, and He will give you into our hands."
1Sa 17:48
So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
1Sa 17:49
Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.
1Sa 17:50
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David.

Wow! A perfect picture of relying on God rather than physical resources. You know we can all relate to Saul, because we're not all that different. We usually view threats in human terms don't we? We immediately evaluate the situation in our own understanding and logic of what we think we can accomplish based off of our own abilities and resources. But when we do this, we could be dismissing God's resources and abilities, as did Saul. Saul didn't realize it at the time, but David was God's solution to Saul's problem.

So one very important lesson in all this would be this... Be who God had called you to be! The world offers all kinds of armor to fight our adversaries, but the One we must put all our faith and trust in is of course God and His resources and abilities. Be careful of advise or council from others. Often we turn to other people that have either more experience or maybe have been through a similar situation before, so naturally we look to them for advice. But as it was with Saul, his advice was all wrong for David. Advice can be good, but we have to be careful to not change who we are in the Lord. He has equipped you for His service and you need to operate on the basis of His word and to not simply try someone else's way of doing things.

Try using your own sling, not someone else's sword or armor.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank you for David and his courage and his confidence that he showed us all that day. He knew You had delivered him in the past and he knew this giant was against the armies of the Lord, and David knew that no one fighting against the Lord could ever win the battle. Thank You that he realized his strength was not of his own, but rather in You. May I always be the person You created me to be and may I completely trust You to deliver me through my challenges and trials in my life. There is no battle that You can't win. Thank You that we don't have to be mighty warriors to have victory, we simply need to put our faith and trust in You. Amen.