Build that house

I’m not afraid to tackle a project I haven’t done before. In fact, today I discovered a broken laptop screen. So I took it apart and ordered a new screen. As long as I have some instructions I am willing to give it a shot. Some things are harder to build than others. For example, Ikea furniture. The instructions aren’t always clear and there are like a thousand parts. Maybe more difficult would be to build a house. If you’ve never done it before, it could be a serious challenge. It would require some devotion and probably some assistance.

In the Old Testament, King David really wanted to build a house. It wasn’t a house for himself; it was a house for the Lord – a sanctuary for God to dwell. He had all the plans drawn up according to God’s instruction. And when it came time to build, he turned to his son Solomon with this charge:

1 Chronicles 28:10 Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.

What an overwhelming task – to build a house for the Lord! No pressure, Solomon. It’s just a house for GOD! Can you imagine following those instructions? He would be building a house in which God would dwell. If it were me, I’d certainly want to do a good job with it. I’d like to make the place inviting – a place where God would want to dwell. I would make sure there were no idols set up. I would even make sure the floors were clean, because I would want to honor the sanctuary of God. But man, that’s a really important job – building God’s house. I’m glad Solomon got the job and not me. Or did I?

1 Corinthians 3:16 says “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” That means that each one of us is the house of the Lord. If that’s the case, then the Lord has chosen YOU to build a house as a sanctuary. You are to be a temple where the Spirit of God dwells. So you’ve got to ask yourself, have I followed His instructions? Are there any idols set up? Is there some cleaning I need to do?

Build your own personal house today. Examine the walls and see if any repairs need to be made. Look for cracks and leaks; look for cobwebs and dirty floors. Get working on that house. You are a sanctuary; you are His dwelling place. Be strong and do the work! 

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!

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!

The benchmark

2 Kings 16:2  Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king and reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God like his ancestor David

This book of stories in the book of 2 Kings could be summed up using this illustration:  God would be holding a flower and as He picks off each petal, He would be saying, “he loves me, he loves me not.”  Because that is what seems to be happening in the this book.  A king rises up and follows the Lord and then the next one doesn’t follow Him at all.  It’s like these guys never established their thrones to the point in which they would have a legacy.  They were fickle and every generation decided to go his own way.

There was a benchmark, however.  His name was David.  I noticed this morning, that throughout this book, the kings were measured against David.  They weren’t measured in regards to their leadership or the size of their kingdom.  They weren’t measured based on the number of wars they one or the number of children they had.  They were measured against his zeal for the Lord.  It was always about whether they did what was right in the sight of the Lord as David did.  Some of them even came close, but never hit the mark that he set.

I’ll bet that David didn’t know he would be the benchmark.  He wasn’t all that concerned with winning a trophy from God.  He just served him with his life, and his life did the talking.  For years to come, his pursuit of the Lord was the standard.  It’s amazing, really, to think about setting that standard for others to follow you.  And I wonder if I am doing the same.  I wonder if generations to come after me will look at my life and define it by how I followed the Lord.  Yes, I want to be a benchmark.  Not because I want fame or honor or even recognition.  I just want to follow the Lord with my whole heart and my whole life to a degree that others will take notice.  I want to give them something to strive for.  And like David, I want to be set apart for His plans, His purposes, and His glory.