Giant-killers (1)

1 Samuel 17:50 NIV

1 Samuel 17 is the backdrop for the story of David and Goliath. The shepherd slays the warrior. The boy conquers the giant. God gives David victory over his giant, to inspire us to confront our own giants. Giants can be tangible or intangible: the things we can’t overcome because, gripped by fear, we think we can’t. They can also be seemingly unattainable goals, unfinished projects, or unfulfilled dreams. A giant is anything or anybody keeping us from being or doing what God wants us to be or do. Giants can be internal or external, real or imagined, physical or emotional. A giant could be an attitude, a habit, a belief, a philosophy, or a memory. It could be a person who stands between us and God; between who we are and who God wants us to be; between where we are and where God wants us to go; between what we believe and what God wants us to believe. Giants have one goal – to stop our progress and prevent us from reaching our destiny. But giant-killers see victory in the shadow of defeat. They perceive every fight as a test where the challenge is to turn a negative into a positive. Conflict is accepted and resistance is expected. To them conflict is growth, and facing an enemy is what happens before we get to advance. Giants can expose our hidden strengths, help us measure our growth, and feed our confidence in God. Giant-killers see opportunity in opposition, potential in problems, and victory in the shadow of defeat. And with God’s help we can become a giant-killer.

Rom 12-14; John 11:1-16; Ps 105:1-15; Prov 30:1-4

Leading others to Christ

Deuteronomy 6:6 NLT

It’s not always easy being a Christian. We can often look at how other people are living their lives, with values and morals that conflict with what the Bible teaches, and wonder how we can possibly make a difference. But with God’s help, we can make a positive impact. Here are a few ideas: 1) Keep your own heart and mind focused on God. Make time every day to read and study the Bible. Pray regularly, and thank Him for the things He’s provided you with. 2) Find a church (if you’re not at one already) and get involved with missions and outreach they’re doing. Let others see that you are really living out what you believe in. 3) If people ask you about God or about your faith, be sensitive to their questions. Take time to answer their questions in ways they will understand and relate to. And be honest in your answers. We don’t have all the answers, and it’s okay to say ‘I don’t know’ if you really don’t know the answer to something – people will respect you more for being honest with them. You could even try saying ‘I don’t know the answer, but I believe this because…’ 4) Trust the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom at the right time to present the gospel to others, and pray for their salvation continuously. 5) Keep in mind that it might not always be your job to get people to make that decision to follow Christ. God might be using you to sow that first seed, and it will actually be someone else who gets to see the end result, maybe years later. Don’t be discouraged if you think you have not succeeded.

Jer 14-17; Matt 28:11-15; Ps 69:1-18; Prov 8:27-29

The cross was always part of God’s plan

Isaiah 53:10 MSG

The psalmist wrote: ‘My God, why have you forsaken me?…I am…scorned by everyone, despised by the people…All those who see me mock me…”He trusts in the LORD,” they say, “let the LORD rescue him”…I am poured out like water…my bones are out of joint…my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth…they pierce my hands and my feet…and cast lots for my garments’ (Psalm 22:1-18 NIV). It sounds like the psalmist was writing about the crucifixion from Jesus’ perspective. If you read Psalm 22 alongside the accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion in the New Testament, you’ll notice how they fit together perfectly. But when Psalm 22 was written, crucifixion hadn’t been introduced as a form of execution, and it wouldn’t be used for several centuries. Now take a look at Isaiah 53: ‘It was our pains he carried…He took the punishment, and that made us whole…He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word…Justice miscarried, and he was led off…Even though he’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true’ (vv. 4-9 MSG). This sounds like it could have been written by someone who witnessed the events of Good Friday, but the Book of Isaiah was written around 700 years before Jesus was born. So we can be sure the cross wasn’t a coincidence or random chance. Long before Jesus came on the scene, God had a plan to reconcile us to Himself through Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:18). We are so precious to Him and He wanted so badly to bring us back in harmony with Him, that even hundreds of years ago we were on His mind. ‘It’s what God had in mind all along…that he give himself as an offering for sin’ (Isaiah 53:10 MSG).

Is jy regtig so gebore?

Psalm 51:5 NLV

Of jou stryd nou met alkohol, dwelms, seks, woede, skinder, onvergifnis, steel, lieg of dobbel is, een ding is seker – ons word almal met ‘n geneigdheid tot sekere gedrag gebore. Dit is dus nie ‘n genetiese kwessie nie, maar ‘n geestelike kwessie. Dit gaan nie oor die wetenskap nie, maar oor sonde. Enigeen van ons kan vind dat ons met hierdie kwessies sukkel – nie omdat ons ‘n geen daarvoor geërf het nie, maar omdat ons Adam se sondige natuur geërf het die dag wat ons gebore is. Dawid sê, ‘Want ek is as sondaar gebore, en was dit voor my geboorte.’ Salomo sê dat daar geen uitsonderings is nie: ‘Want daar is niemand op aarde wat regverdig is nie, niemand wat net goeddoen en nooit sondig nie’ (Predikeer 7:20 NLV). So ja, ons is almal so gebore. Die rede dat hierdie tipe gedrag natuurlik is vir ons, is nie omdat ons nie kan help hoe ons is nie, maar omdat ons sondige natuur sterker is as ons begeerte om God te behaag. Selfs wanneer ons probeer, verloor ons soms die stryd. Paulus, die grootste van Christene, het erken dat hy misluk het toe hy die regte ding probeer doen het. ‘… Want die begeerte tot die goeie is daar, maar ek kry dit nie uitgevoer nie’ (Romeine 7:18 NLV). As ons dus so gebore is, wat is die goeie nuus dan? Paulus sê vir ons: ‘… Wie sal my uit hierdie doodstoestand red? Die antwoord hierop is: Jesus Christus en daarvoor dank ek God!..’ (Romeine 7:24-25). Toe jy gebore is, het jy Adam se korrupte natuur ontvang, maar deur die nuwe geboorte het jy Christus se natuur, wat sonde oorwin, lewensveranderend en geregtig is, ontvang!

Be a uniter, not a divider

Psalm 133:1 NKJV

David said, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity…there the Lord commanded the blessing” (vv. 1, 3 NKJV). When we strive to work together in spite of our differences, God “commands” His blessing to be upon our efforts. Satan knows this, so his chief strategy is to divide and conquer. He knows the power, synergy, and blessing that results from working in harmony; therefore he makes every effort to bring division. So when things begin to splinter and fall apart, look for “the Devil in the details.” The sixth chapter of Proverbs lists seven things the Lord detests; among them is “a man who stirs up dissention” (v. 19 NIV 1984 Edition). Paul says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3 NIV 2011 Edition). (He knew that sometimes it required tremendous effort). We can’t afford to be ignorant of Satan’s tactics designed to keep us at odds with one another. He’ll cause you to become offended over a harmless statement, or read more into a comment than the speaker intended, or ascribe impure motives to someone’s behavior, or believe a lie. But when you pray and seek God, He’ll reveal the truth of the situation. “He is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14 KJV), and when we embrace Him, He directs us into peaceful resolution of our issues. In fact, our conflicts can become stepping stones to stronger relationships when we make a commitment to understand each other and refrain from divisiveness. That’s why Paul writes, “I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose” (1 Corinthians 1:10 TLB).

Soul food: <a target=”_blank” href=””>Jer 45-48</a>;
<a target=”_blank” href=””>Luk 22:39-53</a>;
<a target=”_blank” href=””>Ps 50:1-15</a>;
<a target=”_blank” href=””>Prov 10:8-10</a>