Know Who You Are

Posted on 16. Jul, 2015 by in Faith, Identity, Sonship, Thursday Thoughts

I love the story of David and Goliath. In fact, in the last year my love for the Old Testament has grown tremendously, as my more recent readings in Genesis, Exodus and 1 Samuel have given me so much insight into the greatness of the God that I serve, and so much understanding of His character and His purpose. Specifically, the story of David and Goliath has really spoken to me recently, and I wanted to share what I have gleaned. We all know the background of this story. Goliath, measuring in at 9 feet and “a span”, has been taunting the armies of Israel for 40 days, trying to coax a soldier of Israel to fight him one on one. To the victor go the spoils. Of course no one responds, except to run away at his taunts and challenges. Finally, in walks David, who immediately assesses the situation and says the following:

David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”” (1 Samuel 17:32, NASB95)

The simplicity of David’s belief in God amazes me. Whereas all the soldiers around him, including the King of Israel, are frozen with fear, David steps up and volunteers to fight. He goes on to say:

“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:36–37, NASB95) (emphasis mine)

In my initial reading, the phrase “armies of the living God” stuck out to me. I was not really sure why initially. He repeats this thought further down, when addressing Goliath:

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. “This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.”” (1 Samuel 17:45–47, NASB95)

Again, the confidence in David’s speech is amazing. There is not a fiber in his being that fears Goliath. For David it is as simple as 2+2=4: Goliath is taunting God, God has protected David in the past, and therefore God will deliver Goliath into David’s hand. Not even a smidgen of doubt. Wow. That is inspiring to me.

The day after I initially read this I was driving to work, reflecting on the phrase “armies of the living God”. As I did I finally made a connection to a concept that the Lord has been building in me for the last year or so, an idea that I blogged about previously in a post entitled Sonship vs. Servanthood. The concept of identity. You see, David knew who he was. He knew what it meant to be an Israelite. He knew what it meant to be in the army of the living God. He understood the relationship between God and His people. Again, David KNEW WHO HE WAS!!!

In this respect David stands in stark contrast to the rest of Israel present on the battlefield that day. Even Saul, the King of Israel, didn’t understand this relationship, didn’t understand who he was in the context of God’s kingdom, as manifested at that time by Israel, the chosen race. Because Saul failed to understand who he was he was therefore unable to walk in faith. On the contrary, because David DID know who he was, and who God was with him, it was EASY for him to walk in faith, and the result is astounding.

In our lives we must learn who we are, in the context of God’s Kingdom, as currently manifested by the global body of Christ. You see, God is no different now, in our lives, then He was then in David’s life. The definition of the Kingdom has changed, the identity and scope of the chosen people has changed, but the favored relationship between God and His people is the same now as it was then. We have been brought into covenant relationship with Almighty God, and have been given the keys to the kingdom, so to speak. But if we don’t apprehend our identity in Christ then we will forever live like Saul, taunted, sad and defeated. If, however, we DO apprehend our identity, or can even BEGIN to catch a glimpse of what it means to be His son or daughter, then we can begin the process of maturing into full-grown children in the Kingdom. And as maturing sons and daughters in the Kingdom we will understand who He is, who we are IN HIM, and the giants that once looked so big and scary will begin to look small in the light of His awesome splendor, power and faithfulness.

The last key to this passage that I will mention briefly is David’s understanding of who was actually fighting the battle. David understood that it wasn’t up to him to defeat Goliath. All he had to do was be obedient and trust, and God would do the rest. We must understand the same thing. The battle is, and always has been, the Lord’s. When the circumstances of life come against us we have to know who is fighting for us, and be willing to be obedient to His leading.

One last thought. I made reference to “covenant relationship” and it reminded me of a book I read recently, that has greatly increased my understanding of the Old Testament, in regards to the covenants and customs of Israel. The book is called “The Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry into the Old Testament”, by Sandra L. Richter. I highly recommend this book, and will likely blog about some of the interesting points in the future. 


Thursday Thoughts

Posted on 12. Aug, 2010 by in Strength in Weakness, Thursday Thoughts

This will probably be short, we’ll see what I have time for.  Its been busy in the ER all day, and I’m trying to get a bunch of charts signed off, so I guess priorities must take precedence!

We didn’t have bible study last night, so nothing to report.  Instead my wife and I ate Mexican and watched a taping of “The Next Food Network Star”.  Then we went to bed early.  Our 4 year old fell asleep in our bed, and there is nothing like your kid falling asleep next to you.  In fact, there is something magical about sleeping kids in general!

Best of…

I’ve not had much chance to read this week.  Here’s what I have come across:

A Simple Message | The Assembling of the Church.

“the voice of one crying out in suburbia…”: The cost of doing business.

Is it bed time yet? « Dead and Domestic.

subversive1: More Love, Less Politics.

I don’t have anything great to write tonight, so I’ll just share what’s on my mind, what’s going on in my life.  The Lord has been working with me on a very simple thing…getting up in the morning.  I’ve written about this before.  For me it comes down to an issue of the flesh, and at 5:00 am my flesh has been winning out.  I have focused on Romans 6 and 7, understanding that I am dead in Christ, therefore free from the rule of the flesh and sin.  I also understand Romans 8, that I have to approach this issue in the spirit, and not try to conquer this in my own strength.  The consequences of not getting up on time include:  not having the time I want to read the bible, pray, read other books, blog, etc.; I don’t have time to sign off charts for the clinic, and if you don’t sign off charts you don’t get paid.  The end result is that I often perpetually feel behind, which then makes me feel harried internally.  The thing I am learning, and have BEEN learning for some time (I’m slow I guess) is that BUSINESS (READ BUSY-NESS) IS A STATE OF MIND.  There is a scene in a Startrek episode where Capt. Picard is on a foreign planet, with some gal whose race has the ability to basically freeze time.  In said scene the gal blows on a dandelion-type flower, and all the seeds go flying.  She immediately “slows time”, so that she and Capt. Picard go on talking, as if in normal time, but the world around them slows down to a crawl.  This is a great visual for me, because I feel that in Christ time should “slow down” for us.  What I mean is this:  the more we learn to trust in Christ the less we are concerned about the hustle and bustle around us.  I think of it as “just existing”, a very restful state.  Hebrews 3 and 4 come to mind, about having entered into the rest of Christ, and ceasing from OUR labors.  Worrying about things doesn’t get them done any faster.

Here’s an example.  Sometimes in the ER or in my clinic we get inundated with patients.  Everyone wants everything, and they want it RIGHT NOW!!!  My tendency is to get overwhelmed, and then impatient, and next thing I know I am running ragged, barely keeping my head above water.  If I am not careful the result of that could be poor decision-making, something that I can’t afford to have, and also decreased patient satisfaction.  I am learning to just live minute by minute, to do what I am doing now, then move onto the next thing.  When I can approach things in this manner then I can see the forest through the trees, and see the things I could do to NOT get so far behind (although its not always under my control).  I am so much better at this now than I used to be, but still have to remind myself of it.

Another thing I continue to learn is that I can’t do everything.  Sometimes I find myself getting anxious in providing medical care, or dreading certain encounters because of what I know will be discussed.  What I realized recently, in talking to my nurse who is a believer and good friend, is that these are the times when I don’t have the answer to solve the person’s problem.  When I don’t know how to fix something I feel inadequate, and I HATE feeling inadequate.  If I don’t have the answer I feel I have failed, and I am NOT allowed to fail (in my internal psyche).  Of course, in my mind and heart I realize that my inadequacy is my greatest strength, because that is my opportunity to rely on His grace, but that truth hasn’t permeated that portion of my being…yet.  The more I learn this lesson the more I will enjoy my life and my practice, because this really is a common theme.  I have also found that, when I have no more to offer, that is a good opportunity to offer Christ, in the right circumstances.  I find myself being much more active in my faith in my practice, and I find that the leading in my heart to share usually is followed by an opening by the patient to share.  So, when I have nothing more to offer, I find I can offer the best “thing” of all!

Well, I guess that’s it.

I had a great facebook conversation with Anthony Verderame in Minnesota.  I love the ability to fellowship with brothers and sisters that I would otherwise have no chance to meet.  Check out Anthony’s blog, The Normal Christian.  I think you’ll like it.

Well, that’s more than I thought I’d write.  Next up, I think….”What it means to be a man in Christ”.  I think this subject is sorely lacking in our society.

God bless.

Thursday Thoughts

Posted on 05. Aug, 2010 by in Thursday Thoughts, Walking in the Spirit

I’ll start with my best of selections:

Meditating on the Law | The Ekklesia in Southern Maine.

Unity in My Terms | The Ekklesia in Southern Maine

subversive1: A PROFOUND MYSTERY.  I could really include 3-4 posts from Keith Giles in this list, but I’ll keep it to this one, and you can follow the link and read the rest for yourselves.

“the voice of one crying out in suburbia…”: An honest discussion on social justice

Alan Knox is back at it, but I haven’t had a chance to catch up on his blog.  I’m sure there’s some good stuff in his Ethiopia reports.

I don’t have a new song selection this week.  I’m still stuck on last week’s.

At our Wednesday bible meeting we talked more about the law, and how the death and resurrection of Christ released us from the requirements of the law.  We read from Galatians 2:15-21, which discusses justification by faith in Christ.  The key line for me is verse 18:  “For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor.”  To me this speaks to re-establishing the rule of the law in our lives, the result of which is transgression.  Galatians 5:2-3 goes on to say that if we try to keep one part of the law, we are responsible for keeping the whole thing.  Of course in that case, we are doomed to fail.  The other verse that fascinates me now, that I never previously understood, is Galatians 3:19-20, with the focus being verse 20.  This passage discusses the use of a mediator, which of course would imply two parties.  It goes on to say, however, that God is one.  I never understood this until my wife read from the study notes in her bible.  What I now see is that the mediator was mediating between God and Man.  However, since Christ is both God and man, the success of the mediation is guaranteed because He is both sides of the mediation!  The overall point of Galatians 3 is to explain why the law was given, namely to clearly show us our need for Christ.

Knowing, then, the importance of walking in grace through faith, not only for justification but also for sanctification, we can further understand Romans 8, where it talks about walking in the spirit vs. walking in the flesh.

5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Romans 8:5-11

In this passage, walking in the flesh could mean living carnally, but could also entail trying to live a righteous life by our own power, or taking the law back on ourselves.  In my own walk there are several issues the Lord has been dealing with me on.  One issue is getting up earlier in the morning.  Now, I love to sleep in.  I absolute love to sleep period.  I love just to lay in my bed.  It holds me captive in the mornings!  Trying to get myself up early to read the bible, pray or do charts at the clinic is like pulling teeth.  Once up I am fine, but getting up is a bear!  Since being convicted of this I have largely tried to attack this on my own strength.  Even after reading the above passage, and being instructed to “by the spirit put to death the deeds of the body” I still found myself trying in my own power.  I now see that, to overcome this issue I have to approach it spiritually, for real.  This involves prayer, speaking forth what He has already made me to be, so that what is already true in eternity becomes truth in this temporal realm, and may also include fasting or other measures.  The key is to not conquer this issue by the force of my will-power, as success gained by my strength is really failure.

I would love to hear others comments on what it means to you to “by the spirit put to death the deeds of the body”.  What I mean is, if you were me, and the Lord identified an issue that needed changed in your life, how would you approach this, in the Spirit?

Thursday Thoughts – Volume 1

Posted on 29. Jul, 2010 by in Thursday Thoughts

I am starting a new post-series today.  The fellowship that my wife and I gather with meets on Wednesday nights, and there were some great topics of conversation, which I wanted to share here.  We usually have good discussion, so I imagine there will be things to share each week.  I also want to take the opportunity to give my “best of” recommendations.

First to the “best of”.  I read the following posts in the past week, and thought they were excellent.

Douglas at The Lord’s Plowman had two posts that I thought were excellent.

Spiritually Homeless

Paneled Houses

Keith Giles at Subversive1 had a post “10 Things I’ll Do Different…”

Arthur Sido at The Voice of One Crying Out in Suburbia… had a post “The church on the margins”

Anthony Verderame at The Normal Christian wrote a post “We are alive!!! And Free???”

Dan Allen at The Ekklesia in Southern Maine wrote “Step by Step”

Here’s my song recommendation for the week, again from Hillsong United, this time from their newest album “The I Heart Revolution”.  The song is entitled “Take All of Me”

OK, so last night we started out reading Romans 8:1-4, and then went to Exodus 20, to actually read the 10 commandments.  The question posed was “why did God give the law?

Here are the answers I gave:

1.  Primarily to show man his true depravity, and his need for God’s grace.  Romans 7:13 supports this view.

2.  Secondarily to provide some sort of external framework to help show mankind in general what is right and wrong, so as to provide some aspect of behavior control for those that have yet to find God’s grace.

This discussion lead to a conversation on whether God INTENDED man to fail to meet his requirements (or knew beforehand that he would fail).  The belief expressed was that God foreknew, from the foundation of the world, that things would transpire just as they did, i.e., that God would create man, man would fall, God would give the law, man would fail to keep the law, and Christ would come as the Messiah to provide redemption for mankind.

3.  We discussed the Sabbath, and what it means for us today.  We all agreed that the concept of physical rest is important, that we need not work ourselves interminably, and not allow time for adequate rest.  I feel that the Sabbath goes deeper than this, however, to more of a spiritual rest.  My wife Tayleene shared how the Lord has helped her find rest in running her business.  In the past she would always be coming up with different things to do to increase business, drive in new customers, provide greater customer satisfaction, etc.  She would work herself to the bone, always with something new she could do to make things better.  The Lord taught her how to find her rest and trust in Him, with the knowledge that, even if she doesn’t do all those things, He will still prosper her business.

Hebrews 3 and 4 is pertinent here.

Hebrews 3:7-11 discusses the failure of the children of Israel to trust in God, to provide them victory over their enemies in Canaan, and thus their failure to find His rest.  Joshua, 40 years later, finally did lead the Israelites into Canaan, and thus into a type of “rest”.  Hebrews 4:1-11 then discusses this rest further, stating that a rest remains for the people of God, and that disobedience, same as before, will keep us out of that rest.  Lack of faith in God is the root of disobedience.  We disobey because we fail to trust.  That, to me, is what the Sabbath encompasses, us finding our rest, “ceasing from our labors”, in Christ.

Well, I better stop now.  I don’t want to get too verbose.