Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Talk Tuesday-In The Midst of The Storm: A Journey With King David. Pt. 3

Last week we looked at the importance of small beginnings. This week we will explore how King David worshiped GOD through the storms of life. Did you know that approximately 74 of the 150 Psalms were written by David?

After he defeated Goliath, David's success in battle and his fame grew among the people of Israel. They sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands,” 1 Samuel 18:7. The Bible says that, “Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. 'They have credited David with tens of thousands,' he thought, 'but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?' And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David,” 1 Samuel 18:8-9. Saul's feelings eventually transformed into a murderous jealousy. Although Saul's son Jonathan was David's best friend, he realized quickly that only GOD could save him from the hand of Saul.

The book of 1 Samuel chapters 18 to 31 tells of all the trials David faced on the road to kingship; Psalms unveils his response. For example, Psalm 59, was written when Saul sent men to watch David's house in order to kill him (1 Samuel 19:11-18). Psalm 56 was written when David fled to the land of the Philistines, knowing that Saul would never pursue him in enemy territory, (1 Samuel 21:10-12). There, he feigns insanity, hoping that the Philistine King will spare his life. It is here that he writes Psalm 34. He begins with a declaration of praise, “I will extol the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips,” Psalm 34:1. He exhorts the reader to join him in worship, “Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together,” Psalm 34:3. He makes a bold statement of faith, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing,” Psalm 34:8-10. He acknowledges GOD's faithfulness and justice; “15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; 16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth,” Psalm 34:15-16. He notes His responsiveness and compassion; “17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,” Psalm 34:17-18. He concludes with a tenacious statement of faith, “22 The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned,” Psalm 34:22.

David chose to praise GOD, to encourage others to worship Him, to declare his faith in Him, to acknowledge GOD's character and to stand firm in the promises of GOD in the midst of the storm. At the end of 1 Samuel 31, and the beginning of 2 Samuel, Saul is dead, David is anointed as King over Judah and Israel (1 Samuel 31 to 2 Samuel 5). God's promises NEVER fail. Take the opportunity to draw closer to GOD, praise Him in the storm and watch Him defeat your enemies, bring victory to your life and equip you with a powerful testimony and unshakeable faith!  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Talk Tuesday-Do Not Despise Small Beginnings: A Journey With King David, Pt. II

David's journey was not an easy one. After he was anointed by the prophet Samuel in accordance with the word of the LORD, he had many trials to face. There is a scripture in Zechariah 4:10, which reads, “ 10 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Well, David's 'small beginnings' started with his faithful work as a shepherd and led up to the epic victory against Goliath, the enemy from the Philistine army.

“4 Then Goliath, a Philistine champion from Gath, came out of the Philistine ranks to face the forces of Israel. He was over nine feet tall! “ 1 Samuel 17:4. “'Why are you all coming out to fight?' he called. 'I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! 9 If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! 10 I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!' 11 When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken.” 1 Samuel 17:8-11. We are told that every morning and evening for forty days, Goliath strutted himself in front of them. At the time, three of David's older brothers were in the ranks of King Saul's army, while he, the youngest, was sent by his father to deliver food to them. Incensed, a young David asks, “Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” 1 Samuel 17:26.

32 “'Don’t worry about this Philistine,' David told Saul. 'I’ll go fight him!' 33 'Don’t be ridiculous!' Saul replied. 'There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.' 34 But David persisted. 'I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,' he said. 'When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, 35 I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. 36 I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! 37 The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!' Saul finally consented. 'All right, go ahead,' he said. 'And may the Lord be with you!'” 1 Samuel 17:32-37.

David declares, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”1 Samuel 17:45. “48 As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. 49 Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground,” 1 Samuel 17:48-49.

What lessons can we glean from 1 Samuel 17? Sometimes we may find ourselves doing small tasks, or things that are 'unglamorous' by society's standards. Are you a housewife, a stay-at-home-mom, an unemployed person, working in an 'average' job, serving as a teacher, single, married, childless? The list can go on and on. Do you ever feel unimportant? Well, here's the thing, Luke 16:10 tells us that, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.” Do not despise small beginnings, because God never wastes our efforts. “23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ,” 1 Colossians 3:23-24. Join us next week as we look at how David worships God through the storms of life!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Talk Tuesday-Lessons From the Shepherd King: A Journey With King David, Pt. I

The story of King David is fascinating. We are first introduced to him in 1 Samuel 16:1, “The Lord said to Samuel, 'How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.'” Saul was being replaced by David because of his disobedience. When the prophet Samuel arrived in Bethlehem, he told the elders that he came to sacrifice to the Lord and invited Jesse and his sons to join him. He consecrated them all, ready to anoint the new king of Israel. The first son he saw was Eliab. “When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, 'Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord,'” 1 Samuel 16:6.

It is here that I pause and wonder what kind of man did Eliab seem like? He must have been tall, with a stately demeanour. Perhaps he was handsome and strong. Yet the LORD, who knows the heart and thoughts of man, said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7. Seven of Jesse's sons were paraded before him but Samuel replied, “'The Lord has not chosen these.' 11 So he asked Jesse, 'Are these all the sons you have?' 'There is still the youngest,' Jesse answered. 'He is tending the sheep.' Samuel said, 'Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives,” 1 Samuel 16:10-11. When the shepherd son arrives, the Bible says, “He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.Then the Lord said, 'Rise and anoint him; this is the one.'13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David,” 1 Samuel 16:12-13.

As we begin our journey with King David, we will discover the heart of a true worshiper. At least half of the Psalms in the Bible are written by him. What did GOD see in the heart of David that He chose him to be King? In both the Old and New Testaments he is referred to as a man after GOD's own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). When do you think his relationship with GOD started? Click on the comments link below to share your thoughts. Join us as we embark on this exciting journey with Israel's shepherd king. One thing I learned from this passage is that GOD is not impressed with how we look or present ourselves to others; He is impressed by what He sees inside our hearts. What a sobering thought!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Talk Tuesday-Happy Easter: The Message of Hope!!!

This Christmas, we attended a celebration Mass in which the priest wished everyone a 'Happy Easter!' For a moment, we all seemed confused, wondering if he had gotten his seasons or dates mixed up. His sermon was, 'From the Cradle to the Grave.' Christmas, he argued, was the beginning of Easter, and Easter, he poignantly noted, is the crux of Christianity. The CROSS means that the debt of our sin has been paid for, we are forgiven. GOD's love and justice meet mercy and grace in the sacrifice of JESUS CHRIST on the CROSS. The RESURRECTION means that death and hell are defeated!!!!!!!!!

The Prophet Isaiah writes, “6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” Isaiah 9:6-7

Imagine, God promised King David, "Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever,” 2 Samuel 7:16. Jesus, a direct descendant from David's lineage, is called 'the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David', Revelation 5:5.

God provided a way for the atonement of sin. "In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness," Hebrews 9:22. "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." 1 John 1:7

At the CROSS Jesus defeated death. "14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." Hebrews 2:14-15

Jesus promises us eternal life! "For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” John 6:40

In the midst of pain, suffering, there is a message of hope that cannot be silenced. JESUS CHRIST died just for you! Happy Easter from us at BGO!!!!!