II Samuel 1:23 “Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives…” David possessed so many important character traits that helped establish him as a great leader. One of those was his ability to overlook the problems in others and see their potential. In this passage, God’s people have just suffered defeat by the hands of the Philistines and worst of all, Saul and Jonathan are dead. David received word of this tragedy, and offers a eulogy for the slain leaders. He uses the words, lovely and pleasant to describe Saul and Jonathan. We easily understand why he would use such adjectives when describing Jonathan his best friend. However, it baffles us that he would include Saul in that same statement. Saul was anything but lovely and pleasant to David. As a matter of fact, Saul had tried on numerous occassions to kill David with a javelin. He had declared David his enemy and hunted him like a wild beast. This certainly does not seem like a lovely and pleasant man. Yet David was able to look past these things and remember the good times he had with Saul. We need to ask for the God to give us the heart of David. Too often we only emphasize the deficiencies of others. Every person has worth. Every person has gifts and abilities. We just have to recognize and utilize them.
I Samuel 19:17 “And Saul said unto Michal, why hast thou deceived me so, and sent away mine enemy, that he is escaped?” Saul’s real enemy had not escaped. You see David was not Saul’s enemy. David loved Saul. David had calmed Saul’s spirit time and time again. David had been faithful. David had fought and won the King’s battles. David married the King’s daughter and was best friends with the King’s son. No, David was the the enemy. Saul’s greatest enemy was Saul. His problem was within. He had allowed the green monster of greed and jealousy to consume him. He recognized the obvious hand of God on David’s life and he despised it. In this same chapter, David won a great battle against the Philistines, and Saul, instead of rejoicing, is filled with an evil spirit. Nothing reveals character more than our response to the success of our peers. May God help us to identify the real enemy of self. May we seek forgiveness for rejoicing when other fail and sulking when others succeed.
I Sam 16:1 says, “And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.” Samuel was a man of prayer. On this occasion, he had been weeping, mourning, and praying for King Saul, You see, Saul had disobeyed God and as a result, God had promised to rend the kingdom from him. Samuel was a tenderhearted man and he was broken over the condition of his nation. These were dark days for God’s people. However, God still had a plan. I love the command that God gave to the prophet, “Fill thy horn with oil.” This reveals to us that just because Saul had failed, did not mean that the Lord was finished with Israel. God still has a work that he wants to accomplish. There are still Davids out there that are waiting and ready to enlist in the work of God. When God told Samaul to fill his horn with oil, it was a message of hope. Contrary to what some may say, this is not the time to hold pn until Jesus comes. God is still alive and we must get busy, fill the horn with oil, and go find David.
Hebrews 4:9 “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” After all the busyness and the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we have a tendency to get wore out. You may need what my parents used to call, “a good, old-fashioned rest.” One of the great blessings of being a Christian is that we have continual rest in Christ. The following verse says, “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” When God rested after the six days of creation, that was a picture of the rest He would give to believers. When the Lord instituted the Old Testament Sabbath, it was an illustration of the rest we have by faith in Christ. This Christmas, we don’t have to earn our way to heaven. We aren’t required to keep the law. We don’t have to keep the Sabbath, take a mass, or even be baptized. My three-year old does not like to take rests. Similarly, many Christians fight the rest that God offers. It is the best thing for them, but they just can’t get it. Verse three says, “For we which have believed do enter into rest…” The key to having rest is belief. Have you entered into true rest? May I testify that there is nothing like a good Christmas rest!
Psalms 26:7, “That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.” Occasionally, as we plan and prepare for Thanksgiving Day we can get overwhelmed. The turkey has to be bought and cooked. The house needs organized and cleaned. The guests need invited and counted. However, this year at Thanksgiving, our family is not overwhelmed because of all there is to do, but because of all the Lord has done. The wondrous works of God have truly been showered on us over and over again. He has given us the unique opportunity to start a church in one of the fastest growing areas of Pennsylvania. He has given us a beautiful home in a nice neighborhood. He has given us an affordable building for our church that is strategically located on the busiest road in Cranberry. He has provided 24 supporting churches so far that have promised to help us get the church up and running. He has led us to a new church family that has loved us and welcomed us in. We are overwhelmed at the goodness of our God!
Matthew 23:28,29 “Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” As we have traveled, we have notice that there are some churches that seem to have an abundance of talented people. Sometimes these are large churches, sometimes they are not. These churches may have five piano players, an orchestra, three people that are great at multimedia, various men that can preach in the pastor’s absence, and a host of people equipped to teach Sunday school or lead church ministries. Why has God favored these churches in such a way? What is the secret? I believe the solution is found in the parable located in Matthew twenty-three. God places His talents in the hands of those who will use them, not hide them. Every investor wants to put his money where it will yeild the highest return. The Lord situates talented people in churches where He knows they will be given opportunities to use their talents for His glory. So what’s the key to having God bless my ministry and “invest” in my church? I must have a large vision. I must enlist and engage every person. I must never limit God. I must dream big and ask God to send me people that can help accomplish the dream.
Malachi 3:3 “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver…” The credit card companies attempt to get us to spend more money by enticing us to reach gold, platinum, or silver status. The Lord has a goal for every life; he desires for us to reach the silver status. He is not content with us being an average Christian or a little better than someone else. Therefore, from His mighty throne in Heaven, He patiently sits and implements his plan to help us grow and mature. The refining and purifying process is rarely enjoyable, yet very essential. Often the fire is uncomfortable and the cleansing is inconvenient. However, I am learning to be grateful for God’s working in my life. Along the church planting trail, God has used different circumstances and situations to knock of the rough edges and make me holy. I don’t know if I will ever reach silver status, but by God’s help I will keep trying.
Posted: October 2, 2011 in Uncategorized