Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Facing the Giants (the original)...

I read this morning the familiar Bible story of David and Goliath. It is very familiar, although I do suggest you read it for yourself - just to bring to mind some of the peculiarities. Here is what I noted in my bible:
  • In times of great difficulty comes added responsibilities.
    • v.15 - The nation was at war. David's brothers left to go to battle. David not only had to tend to his flock, as was his usual job, but had to run back & forth from the battlefied to home, checking on his brother's and bringing them supplies, etc. When difficulties come, sometimes we have the added pressures of additional responsibilities as well.
  • Not everyone gets to go to the front.
    • v.15 - The place of prominence in war is the front-line. That's where the 'action' is. However, a support position is really needed as much, and sometimes it's good to remember that not everyone is going to the front, but everyone has an important job to do.
  • Outward (physical) circumstances divert our eyes from spiritual realities.
    • v.24 - The men of Israel were consumed with looking at the 'man'. They were frightened because they didn't take God at His word. They were 'greatly afraid' because the physical became the only thing that was tangible in their lives - the spiritual was a myth. When the spiritual reality (God's word that He would fight for them) becomes a myth, defeat is inevitable.
  • Faith (taking God's Word for reality itself) accomplished in the heart, affects the actions of one's life to reflect that faith, and God receives the glory.
    • vv.45-47 - David goes and 'conversates' with Goliath. He tells him that he (David) was coming to him "in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel" - hereby acknowledging his dependence on God & His word; David also states that he would kill Goliath so that "all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel" & that "the battle is the LORD's" - God receives the glory. Believe what God says, let it affect what people see in your life - so that God will receive the glory. (Matthew 5:16: "Let your light so shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven"
I don't know what "giants" you are facing in your life, but these principles remain true today. May God help you in your battles.

Today we have a pastoral retreat. Just the three of us on staff, going to an undisclosed location, away from all contact and concentrating on the Word, prayer and administration. I am looking forward to it.

I'm two cups of coffee into the day and it feels good! (by the way, Tuesdays are "free sweet tea" at McDonalds, and I'll be taking advantage of that!)

One last thing: I don't normally dream, but last night I had a gripping, very real dream. I had a mother come to me at a teen event, someone I had not met before, who needed help. She had a young child with her, a girl: blonde, curly hair and a smile that would knock 'em dead. This little girl was probably about 3, maybe 4. Her mother related to me that they had just discovered that this girl had cancer and asked me to pray with her. So as I began to, in my dream, we were somehow 'transported' to a Catholic church and took the communion. As I held this now limp body of the girl in my arms, (I'm not sure if she was sleeping or unconscious), I remember thinking how people were watching me because I didn't genuflect. At the end of that service, the mom disappeared and the priest brought the father to me. However, as the father of the girl explained he had to pray with the priest, he opened the door to a booth and in it lay a drunk man. The father fell across the bench next to me in anguish, sobbing because he couldn't be next to the priest while he prayed. I again was transported - (you know how dreams are) - and found myself in the emergency room of the hospital. The girl was now in their care and I was helpless as to what I could do. As I waited in the waiting area, the police came in with a group of criminals and lawyers and cleared the area so that they would have a place to process them (?). I was all but invisible to these men. I did notice one of the lawyers was an acquaintance of mine, but I couldn't interrupt. Then as I looked up, the nurses were cleaning the room in which the girl had been receiving treatment. She had died. That is when I awoke. I was disturbed, in a sense, by this dream. I recall the names of the mom and girl clearly. Very odd for someone who doesn't recall dreams much at all.

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