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!

Reminders

I sometimes often need to be reminded to do things. It’s not that I don’t care; it’s that I don’t remember. Now before you tell me it’s because I’m getting older, you should know that this has been the case for many years. I’m not helping myself here, am I? The truth is, I tend to take on many things at once, so it’s easy to forget some stuff. 20 years ago I used note cards or a Franklin Planner. Remember the Franklin Covey Planner? Amazing!

I don’t use the paper planner anymore, but I do use google assistant on my phone. It’s much simpler and even a better reminder tool. “Ok google, remind me to pick up the kids from school at 3:30.” And you know what? It does! My phone dings and up pops my reminder. It’s like I have a personal assistant!

While these daily reminders are helpful to our daily lives, we also need reminders for the bigger things. Reminders to keep going when we are discouraged. Reminders of the importance of our influence on our children. Reminders to love our wives. Reminders of who we are in Christ. Reminders of God’s calling on our lives. We need reminders.

1 Chronicles 11:1-2  All Israel came together to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, even while Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord your God said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”

You see what happened there? The people came together and reminded him of God’s calling on his life. They reminded him that God had told him that he would become the leader of Israel. Now I’m not sure if David was hesitant to lead. I don’t know if he eagerly stepped up to the plate or waited to be asked. But I do know this: he had people in his life that reminded him of his destiny.

How about you? Do you need to be reminded of God’s promises today? It is so important to remember what God has spoken over your life. Maybe on the good days, you do remember. But on the hard days, we tend to get discouraged and lose our hope. Friends, google assistant isn’t going to remind you of the promises of God. Franklin Covey certainly isn’t going to do it. We need each other. We are the reminders!

*I encourage you today to seek out people who will remind you of the things God has for you. And I encourage you to speak up to those in your life who need to be reminded.

Advice in the wrong places

We all need good advice from time to time. Now there are good places to ask for advice and there are not so good places. The last thing you want to do in your time of need is go to a bad place for advice. Yet we can easily fall into that trap. How? By going to people who are simply going to tell us what we want to hear. The truth is, advice isn’t always fun to receive. It may cause you to rethink your course. It may cause you to see things in a new way. It can determine our next steps. So get good advice!

In the Bible, Saul didn’t get good advice. He made bad decisions, often because of bad advice. He went to the wrong sources. And because of that, it led to him not following the word of the Lord. 1 Chronicles 10:13-14a Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the Lord. 

Ok, I get it. Sometimes you are desperate for an answer. God isn’t answering fast enough. But please, do not go to searching for advice from the wrong places. The horoscope is not the right advice for your day. A fortune cookie is certainly not going to give you the answer you need. And if getting direction from a fortune cookie isn’t bad enough, do NOT seek out wisdom from a fortune teller. The last thing you need is to inquire of a medium like Saul did.

Why does this all matter? It matters because as God’s children, He desires to lead us to places of life. He is to be the voice that gives us direction. He is the one who is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. When we start doing things like consulting horoscopes and mediums, we are essentially consulting the devil for our future. We are looking to a person who has some kind of power, but that power is not from God. That’s dangerous.

So if you need advice, inquire of the Lord. Make that your way of life. Don’t search for advice in the wrong places.

Don’t Airbnb the devil

Airbnb, the lease-a-room phenomenon, was started by a couple of room mates in 2008. It all started because they were having a hard time paying rent. They came up with an idea to set up a few air-mattresses in their living room and see if anyone would rent a night’s stay. Along with the night’s stay, they would serve their guests breakfast. So they set up a simple website so that people could register. They soon had their first guests who paid $80 for a night’s stay on their air-mattress and a free breakfast. Not long after, Airbed and Breakfast (Airbnb) was officially launched.

Now I imagine that leasing out a room or space in your living room can be somewhat nerve racking, especially if you get a bad house guest. What if the person who leases your room is high maintenance? What if they are incredibly messy? What if they are diabolically evil and are hatching a plan to destroy your house? Okay, that was a little far-fetched. But what if? Well, if that was the case, you’d be a fool to lease them a room. Why would you lease a room out to someone who wants to ruin you?

Nehemiah 13:4-5 Before this, Eliashib the priest had been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our God. He was closely associated with Tobiah, and he had provided him with a large room formerly used to store the grain offerings and incense and temple articles, and also the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil prescribed for the Levites, musicians and gatekeepers, as well as the contributions for the priests.

Eliashib took a sacred room in the house of God and put it on Airbnb. Then he leased it to Tobiah. Tobiah! This is the guy who ridiculed Nehemiah and the Israelites who came to rebuild the wall. He opposed the very work of God in Jerusalem. He was a troublemaker and a mocker. In the story of Nehemiah, he was a bad guy. Yet, he was allowed to sublet a room in the house of God. It’s preposterous!

As ridiculous and foolish as it may sound, so many of God’s people are subletting rooms to bad guys. You see, we are called the house of God. We are to be a place that God dwells. Unfortunately, there are people that have taken their house and placed a room (or rooms) on Airbnb. And in those rooms, they are letting the devil reside; they have given space to the bad guy. When we do this, we are allowing him to make a mess of our souls. But we leave him there as we refuse to deal with our sin, our offenses, our addictions, and our pride. We give him space to roam in our hearts when we decide that the world’s way is better than God’s way.

So what do you do? Nehemiah responded this way in verses 8-9:  I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room. I gave orders to purify the rooms, and then I put back into them the equipment of the house of God, with the grain offerings and the incense.

He stepped in with the authority he had and kicked Tobiah right on out of there. That guy’s voice would not remain in the house of God any longer. His influence would not pollute worship to God. Tobiah didn’t belong in the house of God and the devil doesn’t belong in yours. So stand in the authority of Jesus today and kick him out. Ask a friend to pray with you. Deal with the bad guys that you have leased space to. Clean your house friends – you will be glad you did!