Wednesday, June 22, 2011


1 Chron 14:11 So they went up to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there. Then David said, “God has broken through my enemies by my hand like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore they called the name of that place Baal Perazim.

Medical breakthroughs are something we hear about often today. There is some disease, some ailment which is plaguing us as human beings and then suddenly, after much research and work, we find the cure, we get some glimpse of light, and for the first time we are no longer subject to the confusion, the problems, the pain caused by the disease.

The same is true of us spiritually. There are moments in our walk where things can seem to get troubling. We have a big decision to make and we want God to speak to us, we are suffering from some trial and we want God to save us, we are dealing with past sin and we want God to restore us, but sometimes, we have to wait.

Because I dislike the idea of simply reading one verse, in the above section of scripture, David is anointed king, finally, after so many years of running from Saul. The moment he is anointed king, his enemies the Philistines waste no time in attacking him. Isn’t that how it is for us at times? Just when things begin looking greener, just when things start to pick up again, we are attacked. An old enemy of ours comes creeping into our house and begins mounting up an assault against us. An old habit, an old attitude, an old thought, a past sin, a trial, an illness, something comes to trip us up.

All of us have Philistines in our lives. The word Philistine comes from the Hebrew word for “foreigner.” Though for some of us, our Philistines are anything but foreign to us, they themselves are, because these are spirits, habits, characters and things foreign to the character, spirit, promises and things of the living God in us.

What I love most about this section of scripture is first the words David uses to describe his victory, and second the tools by which he achieved that victory. His words “broken through, like a breakthrough of water” immediately reminds me of the victory the children of Israel had when they crossed the Jordan River back in Joshua 3. There they were, on the brink of entering into the Promised Land, all that separated them was the Jordan River. God made a promise to them and because of their faith to take that first step and follow His presence, He broke through the Jordan and they crossed. God did the same thing here for David. He told David that the victory belonged to him and David responds accordingly, by going out and fighting.

Secondly, God’s tool was David. God didn’t go out and get someone else to do the job for David, but instead, used David. Why? Because God is a personal God, and rather than rid us of our problems for us all the time, their will be moments where we will have to exercise that patience James speaks of in 1:2-4. It is this patience that builds in us character, maturity and trust in God.

So often, we ask God for faith, “Oh Lord increase my faith” and we expect it to rain on us from heaven, while this can happen, it isn’t always the case. There are moments where God will simply ask you to trust Him and go out and fight yourself. He wants you to exercise your faith. That in no way means you are alone (Jos 1:9), it just means God wants to build in you something beautiful. He promises you His Holy Spirit, so it isn't like He is sending you out defeneless. Remember that He also provides us with armor (Eph 6:10-20). Put it on every morning. The Philistines never stopped attacking Israel, and your enemy won't relent.

So what is it for you today? Doubt? Fear? Depression? Uncertainty? Anxiety? Which Philistine is it for you? Fight back. Claim God’s promises, preach the gospel to yourself. Learn to do what David would often do in the Psalms, learn to talk to yourself. “Why are you cast down, o my soul, put your hope in God.” Talk to yourself, remind yourself of what God has said to you and be still, victory is already yours in Christ.

Above all, He loves you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Don't be afraid...

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Blessings can be a beautiful thing, however, how often are we willing to accept them and how often is it we are willing to accept the responsibilities that come with them. So often it is easy for us to be excited about a new job, however, hate the thought of having to work and be their all day, so often we get excited about marriage, however, cringe at the thought of having to work at it, fight, or go through hard times. We’ll get excited about the newness and the novelty of something, however, when the time comes to jump into it, we cringe, we freeze up. Thoughts of past failures begin to creep in, the dreaded “what if” syndrome starts and what originally started as the most beautiful thing is now the very thing that is plaguing you. Or is it?

Is it the blessing or is it you? So often we like to shift blame and place our problems on the shoulders of something or someone else when in reality it is us. We are the issue. "if only my boss wasn't so nasty, if only my spouse wasn't so bitter, if only if only if only...". I make those statements on a daily basis and you know what I have found, doors swing both ways and we tend to place our problems on others rather than on our God.

God so often must remind us that He is with us. He promises to be with us wherever we go. He goes before us. It sounds rudimentary in our Christian walk but I think if there is something we often forget it is His presence. Difficulties strike and we wonder where He is, the what ifs begin to hit and we wonder why He would allow us to struggle and deal with those things. "God why would you set me up for failure?". I bet the children of Israel thought that to themselves at plenty of times. When reading through the story of their entrance into the promised land, I guess they forgot something Joshua had spoken back in Numbers 14:8, "if the Lord delights in us, He will bring us to AND give us this land." Notice is doesn't say bring us to and walk away. It says bring us to and give us, meaning, "He who begun a good work is faithful to complete it" which means God will keep His end, will you keep yours? We are called to trust, we are called to look unto Him, we are called to look past the what ifs, to see beyond the difficulties that lay ahead and remember the promised presence. Sometimes God does seem to be silent, but that's because He is going before us.

Sometimes, their will be a space between you and Him like their was in Joshua 3:4, but don't think He isn't with you. Don't think He forgot what He said in Joshua 1:9. The space is intended so that you can see that it is God who goes before you, the space is intended so that you can exercise the faith you have for so long asked God to increase. The space is meant to mature you and the space is meant to give you that which you really want, assurance. Assurance isn't something that rains down from heaven and gives us the goosebumps, assurance is experienced when we have that space between us and God and He shows up. When He turns around and says, "Ok, take a step into the water, I'm about to make the way and take you in a direction you have never been before". Maybe it is a new relationship, a new job, a new church, a new state, a new school. Whatever the case, You are promised His presence and though you may fear the worse case, don't ever think He brought you to this place for you to die. He did it because He has something in mind for you and all you need is a strand of faith.