Joshua 14:6-13; Numbers 14:24:
Someone said “out of sight, out of mind”. I have been finding for the validation of this statement and I came to realize that it is true. Sometimes you exchange contacts with someone but the minute you are scrolling down your phone book contacts is when you see his/her contact and you remember the person. Whatever/whoever is near you most of the time is the one you tend to think about more. The same principle applies in the spiritual world. You can’t get or have something that you have not conceived about. Your thought will always direct you to the place where you think you ought to be. What kind of thoughts so you have this moment as you read this devotion?? Do you see yourself in a place of elevation or you see yourself doomed? Do you see victory or all you see is defeat??
Moses sends out 12 spies to the land of Canaan and each one of them was in the land and he saw for himself how the land was. You know it is very amazing that when people are in a group out for a mission with a common goal, not everybody will see what the other person saw. Though there maybe similarities at some point, each person sees what his/her mind wants to see. I can’t force you to see what I see. All these spies entered the land but whatever each of them saw had one thin in common – Defeat. They couldn’t see themselves inheriting the land that God had promised to their fore-fathers long time ago. But thank God for Caleb and Joshua, two men who had a different spirit and they saw what others didn’t see.
What you perceive yourself to be will greatly influence what you see. Caleb knew God and his promises and he trusted in him and this helped him to see that despite the Anakites being the occupants of the land and despite them being giants, he knew that God is not a liar and he will give them the land as their inheritance. When others saw themselves as locusts in the eyes of the giants, Caleb saw a big God on his side, who would deliver the giants into his hands and inherit the mountain in which they lived. We should always have positive thoughts and perception of ourselves and also others (Genesis 13:14-15) God told Abraham to lift up his eyes and see the vast land that I will give you as an inheritance. If Abraham kept on arguing with Lot in regards to the land, they would have remain there forever but immediately they parted ways, God blessed him and Abraham didn’t even think ill of Lot.
Looking at the life of Caleb, I want to derive a few points that can help us live and walk in his Spirit –
1) He always saw ahead of others: When others saw defeat, Caleb saw victory. Numbers 13:30 Caleb knew that the Lord who had saved them and guided them since they had left Egypt would give them victory even this time. He tells them that we are well able. You are also well able to overcome the circumstances and situations in your life that are a stumbling block to you.
2) He was determined: Joshua 14:12 despite him being of old age, Caleb still wants to be given the mountain so that he can fight the giants and possess the mountain. 1 Kings 7:3-5 we find some 4 leprous men who were determined to pursue their dream. Esther 4:16 Queen Esther is determined to go and face the king, whether she dies she dies and I the king spares her, She lives. Let’s have such a risking faith trusting our God who fails us not.
3) He anticipated opposition: He Says (Joshua 14:10-13) that he will drive the Anakites away from the mountain of which he did. Many of us think that everything will come unto us in a silver platter; we don’t expect opposition at all. We should be ready to be opposed by others, else, we won’t grow. Despite the opposition, we should be confident that we are guaranteed victory to be on our side. Rev 12:11.What you confess is what becomes your portion.
4) He followed God whole-heartedly: Numbers 14:24 God himself gives a testimony of Caleb, that he is s man who followed God whole heartedly. Luke 10:27 Jesus gives us a commandment that we ought to love God with all our hearts, soul and mind. When we commit our minds and souls to follow God, our hearts will be at ease to follow and thirst for God.
It is my prayer that God will help me and you to thirst after him and follow after him.
Friday 10th October 2008.
“11 The Lord said to Moses, 12 I have heard the murmurings of the Israelites; speak to them, saying, At twilight you shall eat meat, and between the two evenings you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God. 13 In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning the dew lay round about the camp. 14 And when the dew had gone, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a fine, round and flake like thing, as fine as hoarfrost on the ground.” Exodus 16:12-14 AMP
Many a times we really worry about our lives so much until we really forget that God is there taking good care of our hearts, soul and body and we have nothing to worry about. The children of Israel are in the wilderness and they are on transit to the Promised Land. While here in the wilderness, their food supply that they had from Egypt runs out and they start complaining to Moses. They forget that it was not Moses who delivered them from Egypt but it was God, but the best they could do at that time is complain to Moses. Moses then turns to God and tells him of what he is going through and he promises to rain food down from heaven. The condition was that the people had to be in the camp and they should collect what is enough for them that day and not more.
That is how many of us behave. After God delivers us from a situation, we get give all the glory to ourselves rather than giving back the glory to God. Through this, most of us warder away from God and forget him until they find themselves in another fix, that’s the time they remember God again. The good thing is that our God hears us when we complain. The children of Israel complain to Moses and Moses forwards the case to God and in turn He responds.
The most significant thing is that when we are out there away from God, that is the time the devil strikes us very well and severely that we are un able to pick ourselves up and continue but God’s grace is always sufficient for us. This morning I want to encourage you to stay in God’s camp no matter what happens or the situation. Sometimes the situations may not be favourable for us to stay focused on God but I encourage you to remain and strive to be in the God’s camp no matter what comes your way. From this story, we can learn several lessons of staying in God’s camp.
No matter what comes our way, let’s learn to stay in God’s camp because:
1) God visits the camps only. He says that “where two or three are gathered in my name, I will be there in their midst”. (Matthew 18:20)
2) God stretches his hand to minister to the people in the camp. Healing, provision, salvation and blessings are all found in God’s camp only.
3) In the camp we have fellowship and we shall encourage each other and God becomes our father.
4) Our Faith grows and our trust in God is strengthened.
5) There is assurance of protection in the camp. “… If Christ is in our camp, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
6) We receive power to overcome in the camp (Acts 2:1-3)
7) We develop the fear of the Lord in the camp and we have life. (proverbs 24:26-27)
8) God moulds our character when we are in the camp.
When we are outside the camp, Solomon says that we ensnare ourselves to death. This is what happens when we are outside God’s camp:
a) We develop doubts whether God is with us or not.
b) There is no security and thus we are open to succumb to the attacks of the evil one.
c) You are deceived by the enemy and falling into sin is very easy at this point.
d) You do not accomplish God’s will in your life. Take a look at Samson. When he went away from God, his life came to an end and left the children of Israel in captivity rather than delivering them.
It is my prayer that all of us will stay in God’s camp this week and days to come.
Monday, 13th October 2008
“So I sought for a man among them who would… stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” |Ezekiel 22:30|
"Patrol Jerusalem’s streets. Look around; says the Lord. Take note. “Search the market squares, Look high and low; search throughout the city! [as Abraham sought in Sodom], See if you can find one man, one woman, A single soul who does what is right and tries to live a true life and I will not destroy the city.” |Jeremiah 5:1|
Since the time Noah, God has been looking for a man to stand in the gap on his behalf. In Isaiah 6:8, God asks a question, “Whom shall I send and who shall go for us…” God always accomplishes his purposes on earth through men. Sometimes as human being we mess ourselves with sin and we annoy God but because of his loving kindness, he always seeks a man to stand in the gap that he/she will intercede for the forgiveness of he human race. Remember when God wanted to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? He comes to Abraham and Abraham pleads with God for Sodom. But it is so unfortunate that every time when God seeks for a man to stand in the gap, we are always found wanting and He finds no one.
In the scriptures listed above, God is seeking for a man so that He can relent his judgment on them but the unfortunate thing, God says that He found none. The question that you might ask yourself is why does God not find somebody to work with? God always looks for the inner man and not the outer man. Remember when Samuel went to anoint David to be the king of Israel? Jesse thought that his older sons qualified to be the king but God said no, till the shepherd boy came from the wilderness. When God chooses to work with you, regardless of who you are, where you are and the circumstances that surround you, He will use you.
Then, what kind of a man is God looking for? Here are some qualities that God looks for in a man that He intends to use.
a) Lives and walks in the truth of his word before Him: God is a truthful God, thus he needs someone truthful. We should be sincere and faithful in our Christian walk. We should be strong in holding unto the faith (Ephesians 6:10). Our works, words and everything we do should also match with our behavior. Psalm 84:11 – When you walk faithfully and uprightly before God, He will also be faithful to you.
b) One who walks in Humility before Him: God honours a humble heart. Pride always comes before a fall. (proverbs 16:18). And God always hates a proud heart. The solution always is James 4:6. Do not let God humble you himself because when he does it himself, it is not sweet as we may think. We do not have to live a life like that of Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26).
c) A man who will be willing to stand in the gap and make intercession for the country and others: You and I are called to be there and stand in the gap for others. We do not have to be pushed to do this, but this is part and parcel of God’s calling in our life. Esther stood in the gap on behalf of his Jew brethren even to a point of risking her own life. But how many of us are willing to reach to such a point? We need people like Esther and Jeremiah who are willing to stand in the gap and offer up their all despite the resistance they get.
d) One who will dare to trust in his word: Prophets are people who really dare to trust God and what He says. We have to be confident with God that He who gives us a promise, He will be faithful to fulfill it. Elijah dared the prophets of Baal to a duel at Mt. Camel and he trusts that God will answer him with fire and God does.
Are you the kind of man God is searching for to use? Even though you may not be prefect, He is a God who doesn’t work with perfectionists. He is a God who works with the vessels that are willing to be used of Him and are ready to be molded into the kind of vessel that He himself wants. May God help us to be kind of people that He wants us to be.
Thursday 9th October 2008
Numbers 13:1-3; 17-20:
Moses sends out 12 people to spy the land of Canaan which was the promise land for the children of Israel. This a land that God had told them that it flows with milk and honey and never lacked anything, and I know and can figure out the anxiety that the people had while they waited for the spies to be back from the mission. Never the less, 10 out of the 12 spies sent out come back with a discouraging report rather than an encouraging report as the people had expected. The report that they bring is that they cannot conquer the land but thank God for Caleb and Joshua, they had a different report for the Israelites (vs. 30).
The 10 spies had the FEAR in them. Fear in itself is a crippling Spirit. (vs. 31-33) Fear gets into you and you see yourself as nothing in regards to the situation. These spies saw themselves as grasshoppers in the eyes of the giants. Remember what you see or take yourself to be is what you eventually become. Paul tells Timothy (1 Timothy 1:7) ”that we have not been given the spirit of fear, but of Power, love and of sound mind.” Nevertheless, the other spies being fearful, the Israelites dint cast them away, the still had them in their midst.
Many a times we trust God for something and something new in our lives and the devil is there preaching another gospel of doubts in your mind. Remember his work is to make you doubt God. Remember what he asked Eve in the Garden of Eden? Genesis 3:1…he asked did God say? …. His statement was doubtful, and this is the tool the devil has used against most of us and we eventually fail to believe in a God who fails not. A God whose promises are yea and Amen, a God who follows every word out of his mouth to accomplish it. But many of us are just discouraged by something small that stumbles us in our way and we end up giving up. If the children of Israel chose to believe the report of the majority, they couldn’t have reached the Promised Land.
For you to fight the discouragement and the doubts that the devils brings you doubts, first doubt the doubt that he has brought to you. Discouragement is a tool the devil uses to fight the faith of a Christian, here is what you need to do to fight and overcome discouragement:
1. Believe the promises in the word of God. Joshua 14:9 – Forty years down the line Caleb still remembers what Moses told him. How many of us remember God’s promise to them when the devil brings doubts your way? Caleb and Joshua were people who walked in the Spirit and the Spirit of God has three products: It hears from God, It sees through Faith and retains the message and the vision. No matter how long it will take, it will surely come to pass. Habakkuk 2:3
2. You should have an inner motivation. This depends on your character individually and not corporately but as an individual. Numbers 14:24 When God looks at you, can he give a testimony on your behalf?? When I look at Caleb, I can derive several character traits he had from God’s testimony of him and these are the characters that we should also have:
Ø Should have a spirit of servant-hood.
Ø Follow the Lord whole heartedly.
Ø Have a different spirit from others.
With the above character traits, you can be sure your motivation will be high when added to the empowerment of the Holy Spirit; you are destined to be more than a conqueror.
3. Patiently but persistently wait for your position to come: Joshua and Caleb didn’t rush to give their report to Moses, they waited first so that the rest could air their report first, then they gave theirs because they knew they had a report from the Lord. After that, Moses proclaims a blessing upon him and his descendants; it takes 40 years for it to be accomplished. Caleb doesn’t rush to tell Joshua to give him the portion allotted to him by Moses, but he is patient. Are you patient?? There are 4 steps to accomplishment:
Ø Plan purposefully
Ø Prepare prayerfully
Ø Proceed positively
Ø Pursue persistently.
When you do these four things, you can be sure that you are destined to succeed and overcome every stumbling block that comes your way.
Lastly, there are three groups of people in the world today. Let’s take it we are climbing a mountain:
1. Quitters – They give up easily. They start the journey but when they reach a certain point, they quit. They never reach even halfway the journey. When asked, they can’t miss excuses.
2. Campers – They are stagnant. They are better than the quitters. They do their best till half mark but when you rest for the night, when others are proceeding, they remain in the camp and not proceed on.
3. Climbers – They press on. When everybody has given up and quit, they move on till they attain their goal. This is the group most of us want to be but the devil will work day and night in every way and dimensions to make sure that we do not make it to this point. To see that we do not achieve our targets.
May God help us to be Climbers and not to be either campers or quitters.
Wednesday, 8th October 2008
There is nobody God has ever used without the experience of the wilderness. (Acts 7:20 -30) Moses was a man who was born in a time when there was so much cruelty. All the male children in the families of the Israelites were being killed. But his mother saw that he was a Godly and she hid him for three months (Exodus 2:2). Mothers, be sensitive to the Holy Spirit when he speaks about the purpose and destiny of your child.
Moses was learned in all Egyptian wisdom but God knew that he lacked something that was more important than the wisdom that he had gained from the Egyptian literature. And this could only be instilled into him or he could only learn it through God taking him through the wilderness. God being the master architecture of our lives, He has a plan and a purpose that he has created us for and He wants us to fulfill his purpose in our generation and in the span of life that he has given us under the sun. In the view of this, He also knows our strong points/areas and also our weakness. He works with us to blend us so that our weaknesses will be brought at par with our strengths. When you know your purpose in life, (Acts 7:25), you shouldn’t hurry it up. Let God work out his way for you.
Before this or the fulfillment of your purpose, God will make sure that He has dealt with all your weaknesses till you are fit for your mission. You know before a soldier is commissioned, he has to go through rigorous training for sometime till the trainers are satisfied that he is fit to go to war. The same, God has to take you through the training (wilderness) so that He can deal with you. During this time, let me tell you that there will be changes that you will undergo but they are all for your benefit. Moses had to forfeit some of the good things he was used to and conform to the wilderness lifestyle. These changes experienced by Moses were:
1) Change of residence – From the palace to the wilderness.
2) He was a learned man who is now in the wilderness later turned shepherd.
3) There was a change of status – he stood a chance to be the next pharaoh but now he is here in the wilderness and a murderer.
Many of us never like it when we are going through the wilderness or tough times, but remember God takes us there for our own benefit. It won’t be an enjoyable time while there but after it all and God is through with you, you will come out refined a better you than you were before. Let me look at the benefits of the wilderness university:
1. You are trained to be a better servant of God character-wise.
· Your character is your power and that is what God is interested in.
· Character development comes before ministry. God had to deal with the character of Moses first before He could release him into ministry. In the wilderness, God dealt with Moses in the following ways:
i. Moses learnt to be patient with God. – He could climb up Mt. Sinai and wait for God to speak for him for forty days and nights without complaining to God.
ii. Humility: God brought him down from somebody to nobody. From a prince to a shepherd. Many of us value our status very much and when we are supposed to humble ourselves, we forget and instead exhort ourselves. James 4:6 “God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it). (The Amplified bible)
iii. Perseverance: God knew that the journey for Moses and the children of Israel won’t be easy. There would be times when he will be discouraged and annoyed by the Israelites but God had to train him to be tolerant and bear with them. James 1:3-4 “3Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. 4But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.”
2. You are trained to be more dependent and focused on God. (Exodus 2:15-22)
Moses always depended on the provisions of the king while he was at the palace, but now here he is in the wilderness where nobody knows him and he doesn’t know anyone either. But while he sat at the well, God works out his way and he brings along the daughter of Jethro the priest. God wanted to teach Moses to depend on Him so that He could use him. Some of us know our calling in life but we want to take it our own way. Lets surrender all to him who called us because he knows where, when and how he will use us. It is during the time when he (Moses) was alone in the wilderness with the flock when God came and spoke to Moses. Same case applies to us, when you are in isolation and all alone, that’s the best time to know God personally and seek his face.
3. God becomes the only companion. A close friend during the time of the wilderness university. You can never pass through the wilderness, depend on God alone and remain the same. This is the time you come to know God personally and unless you are not sensitive, then you remain the same.
Brethren, lets learn to allow God to have his way in our lives and mould us into the kind of servants he wants us to be. That’s the only way we can be effective in the call that God has called us into. Jeremiah 18:6.
Tuesday, 7th October
Deut 1:6-8; 2:2-3:
God being the leader of the children of Israel in the wilderness, He leads them through the wilderness giving them victory and every supply for their needs. When they complained of anything, God always provided. Remember them complaining of food and God supplies them with manna? They complain of water and God gives them water from a Rock? That’s the kind of God that we serve. Nevertheless at all this, they become comfortable and forgot that they were on a journey to a promised land. They got contented to eating manna in the wilderness, but God is not ready to them to settle down in a land that is not theirs.
Many of us are just like the children of Israelites. When we are supposed to be moving ahead that is when most of us are getting contented with the surrounding. We are contented with the glory and victories of yesterday till we forget that we have more battles to fight and new land to possess. Take a look at what Peter tells Jesus at the mountain of transfiguration (Matthew 17:4) “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish,)I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Peter forgot that Jesus was on a mission and He had to complete it. That’s how many of us forget that when God saved us, he didn’t do it so that we could just be there and enjoy being sons of the Most high, he gave us a commission to fulfill (Mathew 20:28).We have to bring others back to his marvelous light from the darkness.
God doesn’t want us to rely on what he did yesterday, Paul told the Ephesians (Ephesians 3:20), that God can do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever think or ask for. That’s the God we serve, and he feels bad when we bask in the victories of yesterday. Sometimes God has to stir us and shake up the foundations that we have laid down so that we can advance. Take a look at Joseph – God had to send him to Egypt so that he could mould him and hence he could accomplish his purpose on earth. God knew if he had stayed at his father’s house, nothing could have happened since they would have discouraged him instead. Disciples – Herod and the Jewish council had to start to persecute them so that they could scatter and spread all over the world so that the gospel of Christ could reach all mankind. There are many examples you can give in regards to these.
Let me feature Abraham for a moment. Abraham was commanded by God to leave his native land Haran to a land he neither knew nor knew the way. He was comfortable at Haran and he had even acquired wealth and even a family for himself. But amidst all these, God tells him to set out for an unknown land. And from this portion of scripture, (Genesis 12:1-3) I derive a few things:
When you are comfortable in the place you are:
a) You don’t get the blessings that God has placed ahead of you: God tells Abraham that He will bless him and his descendants. If Abraham stayed there, he couldn’t have received his blessing.
b) You will never possess what is rightfully yours: God had already set a land for Abraham and his descendants to inherit i.e. Canaan. A land that had all what he could need for his well being.
c) You are destined to be great; Advance and move out of your comfort zone and see what God can do through you. Don’t be like Gideon. A mighty man of valour/war, yet hiding in the caves grinding wheat to hide. (Judges 6) Arise from thy hideout and advance.
d) The lord will lead the way: You don’t have to struggle finding your compass once you get out of your comfort zone. God tells Abraham where to move to next. vs. 8
What is that which is making you feel comfortable where you are now instead of advancing? Is it your Job? Family? Marriage? The Lord is saying, you have dwelt here so much. Advance and possess more land or yourself.
Make it your prayer this week that “God, I wont wait for you to shake my foundations so that I can advance, help me not to dwell in the glory and victory of yesterday, teach me to wait on you and be guided by you..”
Monday, 6th October 2008
What God knows about me.
Acts 15:16-18; Isaiah 45:21; Amos 9:11-12
Sometimes we think that God has really forgotten about us especially when we are in hard/harsh situations where we have reached our end. We go before God in prayers and the best thing that we can do is ask God questions. Why me? Why have you left me alone? But such a time is when he is ever close to us more than we ever thought that he is.
Take for instance our brother Job. He had all the reasons to ask God such questions but he chose not to. Instead of murmuring, he chose to go and worship the Lord. (Job 1:20-21). How many times have you found yourself worshiping God when you are engulfed in situations that you have no control of? How many times have you charged God or judged him wrongly? These are the times that we forget that God knows us and he cares all about us. He says that he knew you even before you were formed in your mother’s womb and he chose you. Jeremiah 1:5. And this is what many of us forget and we find ourselves blaming God for no reason, instead we should always find this time a God time to bond with God and know his mind, will and purpose for our lives.
He is a God who knows what to do every time. It doesn’t matter in which position or condition or what you are passing through. He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, He was, He is and He will ever be. He knows from the end from the beginning of everything. But many a times we doubt him. We become like Thomas who had to literary see and touch Jesus’ feet and hands so that he could believe that he is really alive. Let’s learn to take God by his word. When He says he will do, take it that way. Num 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man, that He should feel repentance or compunction [for what He has promised]. Has He said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good?”
Let me share a few things that God knows about you and me:
a) He knows your name: Isaiah 49:16 “Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of my hands; [O Zion] your walls are continually before me”. Imagine God having a tattoo of your face in his own hand? Thus it means you don’t have to worry. Every time God looks at his hand, guess what he sees? Your name and there He remembers you.
b) He knows your days: Psalms 37:18-19 – God knows your days and if you live blameless before him, your heritage will live forever. Above all He will never let you be put to shame. You shall never lack even in the days of famine.
c) He knows the plans he has for you: Jeremiah 29:11-13; Jeremiah 1: Before you were even conceived, God knew you and He had a purpose for you to accomplish. It is up to you and me to seek His face and know the purpose for which He created us.
d) He Knows how to deliver you: 2 peter 2:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13 – From the day you became a child of God, He knows how to keep you safe and away from the traps of the enemy and in the case that you are caught up in one, He provides a way of escape for you. But not in the case that you made your way into it. If you give in to temptation, you can be sure He won’t be there for you.
Let’s learn to trust God in all that we do and He will be there for us.
1Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle and were assembled at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah in Ephes-dammim. 2 Saul and the men of Israel were encamped in the Valley of Elah and drew up in battle array against the Philistines. 3 And the Philistines stood on a mountain on one side and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with the valley between them. 4 A giant nearly ten feet tall named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span [almost ten feet] stepped out from the Philistine line into the open. 5 And he had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of mail, and the coat weighed 5,000 shekels of bronze. 6 He had bronze shin armor on his legs and a bronze javelin across his shoulders. 7 And the shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; his spear’s head weighed 600 shekels of iron. And a shield bearer went before him. 8 Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. 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.”
1 Samuel 17:1-9; also read vs. 20-51
Verily! verily I say unto you this day, my mind has blown up just because of what God can do. I have read this story again and again since I was a Sunday school kid in the mid-1980s, but this time round, I have realized something I never realized all these years. The children of Israel are in battle with the philistines and David’s brothers are part of the army that is fighting the army and his father Jesse tells him to go and take some food for his brothers in the battle field. There David meets the army of God being challenged by the philistine giant. David’s anger burns in him and he asks a question that I believe each one of us should ask him or herself vs. 26b “who is this uncircumcised philistine that he should defy the armies of the Living God?” You and I are soldiers in the army of the Lord and our common adversary is the devil. The question should be “who is the Devil that he should defy me the soldier in the army of the living God?” David’s Holy anger was wholly focused on the philistine who embodied everything that violated David’s life, Faith and identity and this was enough to fuel him into action.
David approaches the giant even without a sword and at the end he uses the enemy’s own sword to behead him. David had Faith in God and in himself to attend to the task at hand no matter how daunting or impossible it seemed to those around him. Likewise, we are often faced by giants today. These giants come in terms of expectations of others from us, prejudices and biases from people, our own weaknesses that have grown up to be mutant problems against us, addictions, past failures or relationships. Others are in form of chronic habits that we struggle with. Maybe some are the ones I shared in yesterday’s devotion. But like David we must be willing to face and know what the real/true battle requires of us. Many of us try to use some of the armor and ammunitions foisted to us by others/people who advise us in that case. No matter how we trust, love them or well-intended they are, we must remain true to our own strengths and giftedness. We must look to the simple, unadorned tools that will serve us best, the ones that we have tried and tested even if others look and laugh at their simplicity or lack of sophistication.
David’s tools may not be your tools, but the principles can be transferred. His time and life spent as a shepherd boy taught him to appreciate his simple tools of trade and battle no matter how unconventional they seemed to the soldiers, the techniques and the tools he had were more effective and proved to be more effective to accomplish his goals. Sometimes we get easily distracted from the core conflict of a problem we ought to deal with when there is a giant in our lives. It seems easier to deal with other things rather than looking inside our hearts at the real battle.
One of the ways that we are easily caught in this trap is:
a) When we try to become who other people want us to be. David is taken to King Saul and he is given Saul’s royal armor to wear but David is so precise and clear to say I haven’t tested this. He dint care to know whether Saul would get annoyed with him or not, all he didn’t want was to be what Saul wanted him to be. How many times do we accept someone else’s weapons to fight someone else’s battle instead of picking up our own tools and facing the enemy who stands before us? How many times have we done things just to please the people around and let them know that we can also do what they are capable of and at the end we end up regretting?
b) Some of us are trapped in the armor of a career they do not enjoy. A life that gives them no happiness and sooner or later, one will reject the armor and face off the giant before him or her dressed in the armor of his neglected simple tools.
Get me right, not that am saying that we shouldn’t get or ask for advice and guidance, all I simply mean is that; some hurdles may require the assistance of others and you may benefit from the advice and counsel of those around you, but when it comes right down to it, you must slay down the giant your own way. In a giant fight, it is either you are killed or you kill and giants are killed by right choices and these choices we have to make them alone. A choice will either lead you to a good or bad consequence depending on the choice you make. It is not always easy to make good choices but if we have faith in ourselves, we more often make the right decisions. In this, David knew that he must be himself. He simply needed to be himself and bring and awareness of his purpose to the situation. Be committed to be who you are at all cost. Stick to what you know and know best and say this “I haven’t tested these, thus, I must use my own tools of battle that I know and I have tested”
Based on David’s utilization of his natural weapons, let me share FIVE SMOOTH STONES PRINCIPLE for the giants in life:
1. Confront what is threatening you: Don’t pretend that the giant will go away just because don’t think you can bear to face it. Don’t be intimidated by it just because it is bigger than you are. Always focus on how big is your God rather than how big is the Giant.
2. Level what you have learnt in the past against what you face in the future: Do not look to be rescued by others or find a secret somewhere beyond your reach. Recall yesterday’s trials and how you’ve slain the giants form your past.
3. Don’t let the spectators and speculators break your focus from the real villain: It is tempting to look away from the eyes of your problem and seek advice, counsel and solutions from others. While there is certainly a place for the wisdom of your friends and colleagues, when you are in the midst of a fight, don’t lose sight of the real problem and its source.
4. Never assume the problem is dead because it’s dazed: Make sure you kill your giant and don’t simply leave him unconscious to return and sneak up on you another day. Conquer the problem once and for all with a permanent solution and not a short term fix. Remember when it comes back, it comes back, seven times stronger than it was before.
5. Use the enemy’s sword against him. Kill him with his own sword. Without stooping to unethical practices or immoral behavior, you should be willing to fight with the same intensity level as your opponent. Learn what you can from your enemy and then apply it against the weaknesses of your opponent.
I have a feeling that right now as you read this, you have some giants in your life that you are fighting with. Some are half dead yet you think that they are dead. If you truly know who you are, a soldier in the army of the Lord, then, you must be willing to fight the giant in your life. You must be willing to carve your way round the stumbling block on your way. Do not overlook your dependence on God for awareness of what he has called you to do and when to exercise your gifting. Commit yourself to prayer and to studying his word to learn who He says you are and why you are here. If David didn’t realize who he was, then he couldn’t have done what he did.
It doesn’t matter what has brought you down over the years, you can look yourself in the eye and dare to hope again that your dead dreams are still alive and attainable. Uncover your buried treasure chest of talents and risk them in God-honouring ways. Be prepared to use your unique tools of your past.
2nd October 2008
Put away the old man/nature:
For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son Jesus Christ, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life through him (John 3:16). This is a common verse that you and I learnt in Sunday school and we can recite it any time we are called upon to. But do you know that once you became the child of God you ought not to remain as a child but you should grow up from just being a child of God into a son whom He can entrust with his agendas here on earth to be fulfilled, but many of us still remain as children in the kingdom rather than maturing up. 1 peter 2:1-2 “Laying aside all…… as new born babies, let us crave for the pure milk of the word that you may grow.” It is until we have grown up when God can entrust us with his wealth which is our inheritance. Even if you were God, you would not like to entrust your wealth to your daughter or son who is not mature enough to the age of accountability.
You may ask me, how mature should I be? Paul writing to the Ephesians tells them to Put away the old conduct that they had which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts of the flesh and Peter echoes almost the same words in the scripture above. You may tell me or look at yourself and say that I do not walk in the flesh, but there are small things that entangle us and they drag us behind. Paul lists these things down that drag us back:
Paul and Peter tell us to put away:
i. Lying/deceit: vs. 25…let each one of us speak the truth with his neighbour”- How truthful are you in your life? In the stories you tell people, do you give the right account or you add some few lines of yourself to make the story sound interesting? In your place of work, are you truthful with the money/accounts you manage? When late what excuse do you give? Remember everything that is started by lies has to be kept alive through lies. But then, will you lie till Jesus comes back??
ii. Anger vs.26: Paul says do not the sun set while you are annoyed lest you sin. Anger always leads to sin. Anger opens a door for the devil to come and preach to your mind and once you allow him, before he leaves, he will have done more harm than before. Take a SWOT analysis of your life especially in the area of anger: How do you react when someone annoys you? What words do you utter to that particular person? What action do you think you can take at that particular moment?? All this will show you where you stand when it comes to anger. Paul says, be angry but sin not.
iii. Corrupt talk/Evil speaking/careless speaking vs.29: There some words as a believer that are not expected to come out your mouth. Some of us are so fast to pronounce/hail nasty words to someone or something that disrupts you. Some of us are fond of using words like Shit! Damn it! Stupid, Idiot etc such words are not supposed to be found/be heard from your mouth. Parents on the other hand are so fast to hurl some words to the children, for instance you will hear a parent tell a child: sijui wewe ni mjinga kama nani (I don’t know who is foolish like you) or say this: wewe unafanana na mama/baba yako (You resemble your Father/mother in what you do) and in this context, not that the child has done something pleasing. Parents, remember that what you pronounce upon your children is what they take in and they build on it. So when you tell your child that he/she is foolish, that is what she will take in.
iv. Bitterness vs. 31: Somebody does something bad to you and the best that you can do is hold a grudge against that particular person. Remember forgiveness is not dependent on the ability or the response of the other part to apologize for the mistake done but it should be voluntary and from your heart, whether you are asked for forgiveness or not. Stephen while being stoned by the Jews, he didn’t care to know whether they will ever ask for forgiveness, but he prayed Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do (Acts 7:59-60) and Jesus did the same thing on the cross.
v. Hatred/Malice vs. 31b (1 peter 2:1): Do you dislike someone or do you have a negative feeling towards someone? This will bring you down. Hatred leads to jealousy and when jealousy is fully grown, it gives birth to death. Jesus said “when you see someone killing is brother, know that he didn’t kill him that specific moment, he killed him long time ago in his heart” So Guard your heart against this vice.
vi. Jealousy/Envy (1 peter 2:1) Jealousy starts when you see that someone ha got what you don’t have or is way ahead of you in some way. You may say that it really doesn’t catch your attention but am sure it does and when it does, it is never your intention. Take a look and Cain and Abel, they were both offering sacrifices to the Lord and no one had any form of jealousy towards each other, but when God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, he got jealous and he killed his brother. That’s why Jesus said “when you come to offer your sacrifice at the altar and your fellowship is not right with your brother, leave your sacrifice there and go first and reconcile with your brother then come and offer your sacrifice (Matthew 5:23-24)”
vii. Grieve not the Holy Spirit vs. 30: This is so critical and that’s why I have put it being the last. Jesus said that he won’t leave us as orphans but he will give us a helper and that is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit leads us and acts as a guide to us. Nevertheless, most of us grieve the Spirit through lying to him. There are three people that you can never deceive (i) God – Trinity (Three in one). (ii) The devil and (iii) yourself. Look at Acts 5. Ananias and Sapphira decide to lie to the Spirit if God and the consequences were bad – Death. The small and simple things that we do and we think that’s they don’t really matter, just know that God sees all and the most important of all is your Attitude. What was your intention to do what you decided to do or what you are doing?
Having laid all these away, Paul tells us that we replace the above with: Love, Kindness, tenderheartedness and Forgiveness. Peter adds and tells us that we should crave for the pure milk which is the word of God so that we may grow. Remember, David said Psalms 119:11 “that I have hidden your word in my heart that I may not sin against thee” when we saturate our hearts with the word of God, the above 7 things that bring us down will have no room to occupy. If you don’t fill up the space they occupy when you cast them out, Jesus said, it will come back with 7 more which are more powerful than itself thus you become more worse.
May God help you us as we do a SWOT analysis of our lives and deliver us from these little foxes that damage our vineyards.
Are your eyes open???
2nd kings 6:8-23
Since the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt, they enjoyed peace certain times and its only when they dint sin against God. Many are the times that God would really punish them because of their disobedience and this was by bringing foreign nations to subdue them till they repented. But after that, they asked for a king and God gave them kings who ruled over them. Some were good and others not at all.
This time in particular, the king of Syria is planning to attack the king of Israel, but every time he would set up an ambush point to attack, Elisha used to warn the king not to go that way, thus he was saved from the attack. The bible says that this went on for a while till the Syrian king got mad and he called his cabinet to discuss this. And he asks a question “Tell me, who is leaking information to the king of Israel? Who is the spy in our ranks?” but one of the officers whom I tend to believe knew who God is told the king what was happening. This is what he told him “…. No, my master, dear king. It’s not any of us. It’s Elisha the prophet in Israel. He tells the king of Israel everything you say, even what you whisper in your bedroom.” This officer told the king the truth.
This is what happens: When you are connected with God, He watches over you. The devil knows that you are a great threat to him and thus he will set up all sorts of traps to ambush you and finish you, but our God being a loving and a caring God, He keeps you posted on every plan of the evil one. The bible says in Isaiah 30:21 …That when you turn to the right or left and miss the way, you will always hear a voice behind telling you that this is the way, walk in it. And this is what God did for the king. Never the less, there are times when God will allow things to happen so that he can glorify himself.
The Syrian king sent out for the man of God to be searched so that he could be killed but God had some other plans. When he sent an army to capture him, He manifests himself. The servant rises up in the morning and he finds that the city has been surrounded by a vast army. He is terrified and he doesn’t know what to do. He rushes back to the house to inform his master the prophet. I know to his amusement, the prophet was not amused because he knew that them that were with them are greater than the enemy.
This is what many of us do. When we find ourselves in problems we panic and forget that great is He that is with us more than he that is in the world. But God always is there to save and protect us. The prophet knowing how great his God is, he prays a simple prayer “…God strike them with Blindness” and God answered his prayers. Sometimes we don’t have to panic; God just requires a little faith in him from us to work out something great in our lives. Like Gehazi, many of us are spiritually blind. We encounter simple challenges in our Christian walk and Faith but the best we can do is panic and run around seeking help form people who may not help us. If I may ask this simple question: if you were Gehazi, what would you have done? Solomon asks when the foundations of the earth are shaken, where can the righteous run to? Proverbs 18:10 gives us a solution. Run to the Lord. He is a strong tower where the righteous run and they are safe.
When Elisha prays fro Gehazi’s eyes to be open, He sees a vast army in the mountain with chariots of fire surrounding them. You can never see the spiritual unless your spiritual eyes are open. Michael W. Smith sang and said: open the eyes of my heart oh Lord, I want to see you. This should be our daily prayer that God will guide us. Remember the psalm of David. Every time I read it, it reminds me that I don’t have to struggle with situations, all I have to know and trust is that the God of Israel watches over me and not a single day that he will forsake me.
Share with me the psalm:
1 -2 I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
3 -4 He won’t let you stumble,
your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s
Guardian will never doze or sleep.
5 -6 God’s your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,
sheltering you from moon stroke.
7 -8 God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, and he guards you always.