Victory!

I like winning. I wish I could say I always win, but I don’t. Sometimes I get second place. Okay fine… sometimes I lose. Have you ever met someone who always seems to win no matter what they are doing? Those people are so annoying inspiring. Whether it’s a card game or a basketball game, they seem to get the victory. Every. Single. Time. Which is great if you are on their team and not so great when you are on the other team.

There was a guy in the Bible like that. He just couldn’t lose. In fact, whenever he engaged in battle, the song “All I do is win” mysteriously played in the background. His name was David. Check this out:

1 Chronicles 18:6b The Lord gave David victory wherever he went.

1 Chronicles 18:13b The Lord gave David victory wherever he went

This guy was a first class winner. So much so, that this statement is repeated twice in the chapter. David had victory. Wherever he swung his sword, victory. Anywhere he set his feet, victory. On any battlefield, victory. Now before David gets a big head about all this winning, let’s look at the three key words in these verses. “The Lord gave”  The Lord gave David victory. Because victory belongs to the Lord. 

So many people are living their lives in defeat. They live their lives in a constant state of struggle, anxiety, depression, and gloom. Hope is not here and peace is not present. Yet they struggle to find some semblance of victory. Even just a little one would suffice. Their efforts are strained until they can strain no more. There is nothing left in the tank. They couldn’t achieve it. There must be no victory left for them.

Yet the truth is this, THE LORD GIVES victory. He has called us to be a victorious people. He has brought us out of the darkness and into the light. He gave his very life, defeating death, not only for his victory, but also for ours. We don’t have to live in defeat any longer. We, too, can live in the victory that the Lord gives.

Proclaim this over your life today: The Lord will give _________ (insert name) victory where he/she goes. 

If you will walk in the power of His Spirit and in His truth, I believe that statement will be as true for you as it was for David.

Sounds good to me

“Sounds good to me.” A statement I have uttered countless times. People have ideas; some people have good ideas. And when those ideas are presented to me as a leader, I often think they sound like good ideas. But sometimes, after putting some more thought and prayer into it, I realize the idea is actually not a good idea. What do I say then? I have to go back to that person and let them know that their idea was not actually as good of an idea as I said it was. That’s awkward; I don’t like it one bit.

This actually happened to a prophet in the Old Testament by the name of Nathan. One day, King David came to him for some advice. You see, he thought since he had a nice house, that he should build one for God, too. Not exactly for God, but for the ark of the covenant. Here’s the answer that Nathan gave him.

1 Chronicles 17:2 Nathan replied to David, “Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you.”

What a great confirmation for David. He asked a prophet of the Lord what he should do and he got the green light. Surely this brilliant idea came from the Lord. Except for what happened next. In verse 3 it says “But that night the word of God came to Nathan…” Hold the phone! You mean Nathan “the prophet” didn’t actually inquire of the Lord? He simply said, “sounds good to me.” That’s a problem.

God in his faithfulness spoke to Nathan what he should have told David. So Nathan had to have that awkward conversation. “Remember when I said, ‘sounds good to me?’ Well, it actually isn’t good. That’s not what God wants.” Back peddling is not fun, especially when someone is enthusiastic about your advice.

We will end up in the same back peddling situations as Nathan if we are too quick to answer. If we don’t call upon the Lord for His word and His guidance, we will be saying “sounds good to me” to things that are no good at all. So if we want to actually live in wisdom, we need to go to the Lord before we answer. We need to inquire of Him before we make our move. If we do, He will lead us in the way everlasting.

Now THAT sounds good to me!

Praise Him!

Today’s post is going to be a little different. As I was reading this morning, the words that David penned for his worship team resonated with me. So I am simply going to give you a portion of that. I hope that these words fill your heart with praise today.

1 Chronicles 16:28-36

28 Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering and come before him.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his[e] holiness.
30     Tremble before him, all the earth!
    The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.

31 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
32 Let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
    let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!
33 Let the trees of the forest sing,
    let them sing for joy before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.

34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.
35 Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior;
    gather us and deliver us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name,
    and glory in your praise.”
36 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting.

Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the Lord.”

Carriers

When my son was very young, he got strep throat a lot. So much so, that he had to have his tonsils and adenoids removed. Even then, he would still get it. So the doctor decided to test him to see if he was a carrier. Apparently, someone can be a carrier of strep and constantly have it, even if there are no symptoms. It stays dormant most of the time then flares up occasionally. The good news is he wasn’t a carrier. What a relief!

Being a carrier of a disease is not a good thing. But being a carrier of good things isn’t so bad. How about being a carrier of the Olympic torch? That would be cool. Or a carrier of a letter from the king. There are lots of good things to carry that are not strep. In the Old Testament, King David assigned a group of men to be carriers of something pretty awesome: the ark of God.

1 Chronicles 15:15 And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.

Imagine what that would be like? Well, besides heavy. These guys were literally carrying the presence of God on their shoulders. Wherever they went, the spirit of God was there also. What an awesome privilege to carry His presence. Do you wonder what that would be like? Well, you don’t have to wonder, because you, too can be a carrier of His presence.

The late great Jerry Cook, said: “Where I go, He is.” What he meant by that is this – since I am a carrier of the Spirit of God, He is with me wherever I go. Pastor Jerry understood that he was a carrier of God. Where he set his feet was where God set his feet. Where he showed up, God showed up. All because God has chosen to make us carriers of His Spirit.

We don’t carry an ark on poles. But we do carry God’s presence with us. Where we go, He is. You are a carrier. Embrace that today and carry Him wherever you go.

Good Question

I’ve been in my fair share of classrooms, meetings, and training sessions. A common component is the question and answer time at the end. This is the time where people can seek understanding, gain further insight, and ask ridiculously stupid questions. That’s right – I said it. Now the kind, encouraging teacher almost always says, “that’s a good question,” when in fact, sometimes it is NOT a good question. You’ve heard the saying, “there’s no such thing as a bad question.” Well, that’s simply just not true. I’ve heard plenty of bad questions.

I’ve heard plenty of good questions, too. Questions that we were all thinking of, questions with tough answers, questions that help us understand. Those are good questions. Maybe it’s a question asking for advice from someone with wisdom or directions from someone who knows the lay of the land. Good questions. King David asked a good question in 1 Chronicles 14:9-10.

Now the Philistines had come and raided the Valley of Rephaim; 10 so David inquired of God: “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?” The Lord answered him, “Go, I will deliver them into your hands.”

David asked the one who knew all the answers: God. He didn’t just knee-jerk go into attack mode on the Philistines; he asked first. Imagine the confidence he had going into that battle, because God had told him to go and that he would win. I’ll take that battle every day. David asked a really good question!

The problem is, I often fight my own battles. I don’t ask God for His input. The result is often the messes I find myself in. Those messes range from unnecessary worry to all out failure, neither of which are desirable. I should be asking good questions to the good God. He knows all the answers!

So join me today. Start asking good questions. Let’s talk to the Lord and find out what He has in store for us before we act.

Lucky socks

A rabbit’s foot. Four leaf clovers. That one pair of socks. Good luck charms. Some people gotta have them. They believe that they bring them good luck. They think that they make them succeed. Baseball players are known for it. They have to follow the same routine, wear the same pair of socks, tie their shoes a certain way, etc. If they don’t, they might not play well. I don’t buy it though. Dude, you didn’t strike out because you wore the wrong socks today; you struck out because you swung at three straight pitches that were low and away.

Nevertheless, people get superstitious about stuff. They think these things bring them a blessing or something. Speaking of that, there was this family in the Bible that had a good luck charm of sorts. Except it wasn’t a good luck charm; it was the presence of God. And that presence caused some serious blessing in their life.

1 Chronicles 13:14 The ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house for three months, and the Lord blessed his household and everything he had.

Those must have been an amazing three months! Sitting right in your living room is the ark of the covenant. In that ark was the presence of God. It was WAY more than a good luck charm. It was WAY better than lucky socks (and probably smelled a lot better, too). The presence of God brought blessing upon this home. It brought protection and provision. The presence of God, right there in the living room of the house. Wow!

You know what, though? You can have the presence of God right in your living room today. The Bible calls you a house in which the Spirit of the Lord dwells. All you need to do is invite Him right into the living room of your house. Invite Him to come and to stay. You will find the same blessing that Obed-Edom found. You will find peace that you didn’t know was possible. You will find provision and clarity and hope.

The ark of God in your personal living room. Imagine it…

Now, do more than imagine it. Receive it.

Put your socks in the laundry and put on the presence of God, instead.

 

Marvel’s “The Gadites”

If you’ve ever watched a Marvel film, you’ve seen the action packed fight scenes where a single hero is able to take on hundreds of bad guys. This hero possesses superhuman strength, or at least has really cool technology at his disposal (*cough, Ironman).  Watching those scenes makes us not only root for the hero, but it makes us wonder what it would be like to be one. What would it be like to have the strength to take on hundreds… no, thousands!? How cool would it be to fly or walk through walls or throw a shield at people and have it come back to you? Okay, that last one doesn’t sound cool, but I assure you it is.

All of these Marvel characters are fictional, but there were some guys in the Bible who could accomplish the same feats (minus the flying, technology, and green skin tone). They were commanders who fought with David, called the Gadites. These were some seriously legit warriors. So much so that I think that Marvel could make a movie about them. I can see it now: Marvel’s “The Gadites.” Hmmmm…. not a real catchy title.

1 Chronicles 12:14 These Gadites were army commanders; the least was a match for a hundred, and the greatest for a thousand.

Did I read that right? The worst, weakest, least capable fighter could take on a hundred guys. The best one could take on a thousand. That’s just flat out crazy! These guys were like Rambo but without the machine gun. I’m thoroughly impressed! David was, too, because he made them commanders in his army. You would do the same thing. After all, how nice would it be to have someone on your side who could take on a thousand enemy soldiers? 

But wait, you do! You have Jesus! You see, the fight we fight is not a physical one. It is spiritual. The Bible tells us that Jesus completely disarmed the the power of the enemy at the cross. He took on thousands and he won. That’s the same Jesus that you have on your side. You’ve got a warrior that is far more capable than the Gadites. He is more capable than Ironman, Captain America, or the Incredible Hulk. He is the incredible Jesus! And He is fighting for you!