The right guy for the job

Sometimes you just got to know when you aren’t the right guy (or girl) for the job. Something about me: I’m willing to tackle new projects even if I don’t know how to do them. Replace boards on my deck – no problem. YouTube how to repair something minor on my care – sure thing. Build something from Ikea – maybe. But I also know my limit. For example, when my house needed a new roof, I knew I wasn’t the right guy for the job. When my transmission went out on my car, definitely not the right guy for the job.

Now all that has to do with skill set and the bravery to try new things. But sometimes you actually do know how to do something, but you also know that you aren’t the right guy for the job. Maybe someone else is called to do it. Or maybe someone else could do it, but the right guy for the job is YOU. In 1 Chronicles 22, we find that David had been told by God that he was not to be the one to build the temple. God told David that he had someone else in mind and that someone else was Solomon. So David did all he could to get Solomon ready for the calling God had for him.

1 Chronicles 22:11-13 11 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. 12 May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. 13 Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.

I love this moment where David turns to his son and says, “NOW is your time. THIS is the moment God has prepared you for. And as you go, I pray that the Lord gives you wisdom and understanding. I pray that the Lord gives you courage. Don’t be afraid. Do NOT be discouraged. Just follow the Lord and He will give you success.”

You might be a David today. You know that you aren’t the right guy for the job, yet God is calling you to do all that you can to prepare the next person for success. You see, David didn’t just take a break knowing this wasn’t his assignment. Instead, he did all that he could to set up Solomon for success. What would happen if you poured in all your resources, not for you, but for the person coming after you?

You might be a Solomon. And now is the time for you to step into the assignment that God has for you. Will you follow God with all that you’ve got? Will you heed the wisdom of those who have gone before you? Will you give into fear or will you tap into the courage of the Lord?

God may be calling you to step into a new assignment or a new calling in the season ahead. Or he may be calling you to invest in one who will someday come after you. Whichever place you find yourself in, look to the wisdom of David and be the right guy or girl for THAT job.

Math is from the devil

I was always pretty good at math. That is, until my freshman year of High School. It was a tough year for me when it came to math. I had always got A’s in math, but this year would be different. I stayed after school almost every day to get help with the homework and I barely squeaked out a B-.  My confidence was shot and I started to question my ability to succeed in this area.

The subject was geometry. No longer could I relish in the concrete solutions for the letter x. Now I had to memorize theorems and postulates. I had to figure out areas and angles. It was like math mixed with art… and I was pretty sure it was from the devil. Math is supposed to be black and white. Math is a fact, not a theory. What is this geometry? Get behind me, Satan!

1 Chronicles 21:1 Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.

See! I told you math was from the devil! Do you know what a census is? It is counting people by groups and then adding them together. And here in 1 Chronicles 21, Satan made David do math. Okay, I’ll admit it – that’s a bit of a stretch. Maybe math isn’t really from the devil. So why was this census such a bad idea? Why did God explicitly instruct David NOT to take a census?

The problem with the census was that it would cause David to put his confidence in his resources rather than in his God. David wanted to know how many fighting men he had in case he was attacked. He wanted to calculate his odds at winning a battle. Even though God had consistently fought his battles for him, David still had this need to discover if what he had was enough. Unfortunately, this math experiment turned into a giant disaster for him. Math did him in.

Don’t we do the same thing that David did? We let anxiety and worry lead us to our calculators. We fret over all the possible alternatives and the inevitable outcomes. We lose sleep over the fact that no matter how hard we have thought about it, 2+2 simply does not equal 8.  We are short on resources and it looks like we are gonna lose this one.

God isn’t intimidated by math. He doesn’t worry about geometry. Not enough resources? No problem. Having a hard time getting all that you can gather to add up to 8? He doesn’t need 4+4. He can make W+S=8 if He wants to. You just bring the W and He will bring the S and it will all work out. What is the W you ask? It’s your weakness. The S is HIS strength.

Your God has all the resources you will ever need. You don’t need to put your trust in math. You can simply put your trust in Him. He has always been the one to fight the battles. He has always been the God who provides. He will not let you down. In the words of Proverbs 3:5-6,

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

The six-fingered man

My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die. 

This famous line comes from the movie “The Princess Bride.” Inigo Montoya is a on a quest to avenge his father’s death. So he rehearses this line over and over again to get himself ready to face the six-fingered man who killed his father. He travels long distances to find the man. He doesn’t know who he is, but he knows that this guy has six-fingers. When they finally meet face-to-face, Inigo recites his rehearsed line to the six-fingered man.

As I was reading in my Bible today, I came across another guy who Inigo Montoya may have wanted to fight to the death. Check it out.

1 Chronicles 20:6-8  6 In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot—twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha. 7 When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him. 8 These were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men.

Way to go Jonathan! Inigo would be proud. This guy with 24 fingers and toes was huge – a giant. Verse 6 tells us that he was a Raphite. You know who else was a Raphite? Goliath. Now maybe you remember a story about a young man named David and a giant named Goliath. Israel was afraid of Goliath; no one wanted to fight him. But David stepped up in courage and faith. With only his sling and a rock, he took out that giant. Yes, David was the giant killer!

It seems that David did more than just kill one giant. He set off a chain reaction down his family line. Because when we look here in 1 Chronicles, we see that more giants would fall at the hands of David’s family members. We see them fall by those under his command. The victory over Goliath went beyond David and into the next generation.

You may have giants you are facing. You may be unsure if the fight is worth it. It is! Because your victory is more than your victory. It is a victory for generations to come. You can do more than be a giant slayer. You can raise up a generation of giant slayers. So go to battle, take out the giants of sin in your life. Take out addiction that has been plaguing your family for generations. Slay those giants not only for yourself, but for you children, your grandchildren, and for generations to come.

Paranoia

Paranoia is a funny thing. It can take the most level headed person and turn him into a anxious worrier. We’ve probably all been there – seeing and believing things that aren’t really there. I know that I’ve been sure I was being followed at night in downtown Tacoma and ended up running to my car and locking the doors. Of course there was no one in sight. Ok, I better elaborate on that or I’ll just sound like a wimp.

I was in my early 20’s attending University of Washington in Tacoma. At the time I attended, the area was still a bit sketchy with crime and all. We had campus security at all times. Parking for the school was less than ideal. You couldn’t really park on the street because those were 1-2 hour spots and classes ran longer than that. So you had to park a few blocks up the street away from the campus. Now at the time, the school had made an announcement to be careful at night walking to your car because incidents had been reported. Mugging, burglary, car break-ins, etc. If you felt uncomfortable, the security guards would walk you to your car. That’s cool, but I was a dude. I got this. Except that announcement made me paranoid. And sometimes I ran to my car.

Paranoia will mess with you. It clouds your judgement. It will cause you to make bad decisions. Just look at this story out of 1 Chronicles…

1 Chronicles 19:2-4 David thought, “I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, because his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father.  When David’s envoys came to Hanun in the land of the Ammonites to express sympathy to him, the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun, “Do you think David is honoring your father by sending envoys to you to express sympathy? Haven’t his envoys come to you only to explore and spy out the country and overthrow it?” So Hanun seized David’s envoys, shaved them, cut off their garments at the buttocks, and sent them away.

Can we stop for just a moment and realize how funny this is? I mean, it’s absolutely terrible. But c’mon, who is the guy who thought of this? “Hey King Hanun, I’ve got an idea. Let’s make it so these guys moon everyone on their way back home.” I imagine they snickered like 12 year old boys as they watched these guys leave. I can almost see the pokes and jabs as they laughed hysterically, “it’s gonna be a full moon tonight!” (*sigh) Boys will be boys.  I digress.

The whole problem with this situation is that David actually sent these guys in peace to give his sympathy to Hanun. But paranoia ruled in the hearts of the Ammonites. That paranoia messed with their heads and made them think that David was out to get them. They thought he was sending these guys in as spies. Their judgement was clouded and they made a poor decision. In fact, instead of peace, this whole situation turned into war. And the paranoid Ammonites lost badly.

Are you living paranoid? Are you always wondering what bad thing will happen next? Do you spend time worried about what others are saying about you? Have you convinced yourself that everyone is out to get you? Friends, that is no way to live! You belong to a God who is for you. He declares Isaiah 41:10 over your life. “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

Take heart today. Take refuge. Receive peace. Find joy. He is your God and he will hold you up. There’s no need to be paranoid any longer.

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.

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.