10/13/19

Who dies? And what is it?

The simple answer to the first question is - everybody. But that answer brings up more questions on its own. Why does everybody die?

There were two people who, according to the Bible, escaped this life without death - Enoch and Elijah. We are told that both of these men were simply - removed - from life.

For the rest of us, however, death is pretty much a guarantee. In spite of that, we still don't like to talk about it, think about it, or even consider that it could happen. But it does. We know that. But . . . what is it?

Science and medicine have moved the line of death over the years. In ancient times, death was when breath stopped. The Bible's most used term for death is something like, "he breathed his last." Even up until the middle of the 20th century, that definition was the standard.

But then they discovered that you can be revived if you stopped breathing. And the line moved. Now, death was when your heart stopped beating.

But then, toward the end of the century, they discovered that you can be revived if your heart stops. And the line moved. Now, death was when the brain stopped working.

But now they've begun to fudge on that definition, too, because science is working on bringing life back even after the brain has stopped functioning. 

So, what does it mean to be dead? The official definition, (it's a law!), is that when the heart stops beating and the brain stops functioning and these are irreversible, that's when it's death.

You can tell, even from that definition, that the whole thing is not as black and white as we often think. Instead of death being "you're here, and then you're not," death has become a process. Real death can take place in an instant, but it can also take days, weeks, even longer.

All that is about physical death. But what does the Bible say about death? The Bible doesn't offer us a tidy, one-liner definition. But it talks a lot about what death is. Death is . .

  • Something we usually fear.

  • Something that is the result of sin.

  • Something that happens to all of us.

  • Something that is powerful.

  • Something that is tied to, and under the service of, the devil.

  • Something that should be avoided. But can't be on our own.

  • Something Jesus came to conquer, and he proved it by his own resurrection.

  • Something to help us evaluate our lives.

That last one is a recurring theme in scripture when it comes to how we look at death. Here's a sample:

Psalm 90:12 - Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Ecclesiastes 7:2 - It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.

Hebrews 9:27 - . . . it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment . . .

Death is an analytical device - a sponsor of serious evaluation. Death, confronted properly by the living, can help us think soberly about how we live.

So, if you knew you were going to die, what would you change? How would you live differently?

You are, you know. You should, you know.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 9/29/19

When Jesus got away for some rest and prayer, his disciples gave him some flack. It could have been that in their minds, Jesus was splurging.

Sometimes we can feel the same thing about taking time for rejuvenation. But the truth is, Jesus did it often. Because of stress.

Did Jesus experience stress? More than we will ever know. How did he handle it? He splurged.

Here are five ways he did that:

  • Rest - Jesus often took time to get away from the immense pressures he faced. He even fell asleep in a boat during a wild storm!

  • Margins - Jesus created margin in his life and the ministry with his disciples. Creating margin means making space to breath by planning and timing his activities to that his agenda was not packed with busy-ness.

  • Seclusion - Jesus know that being alone was not being lonely. Many time, Jesus got away to a place that was isolated from the pressures of his ministry.

  • Community - While he valued being alone, he also highly valued his friends. Many time he made sure they were with him to pull away from the action and spend time in prayer and friendship.

  • Vertical Orientation - More than any other thing, this was how Jesus held the super-stress of his mission at bay: He maintained an active, vital relationship with his Father. NO OTHER REMEDY CAN HELP US AS MUCH AS THIS ONE THING - TO SPEND TIME WITH OUR DAD - OUR GOD.

So, if you want to relieve stress in your life, do what Jesus would do. Splurge.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 9/22/19

Stress comes when we can't make decisions or can't make good ones. Stress happens when we pile up our life with obligations and commitments we should never have made. Stress is the result of not knowing who we are or why we're here.

Who are you? Why are you here?

If you want to relieve some bad stress from your life, start here: Do you believe God made you? Do you believe he made you exactly the way you are? Why did he do that?

He didn't create you by accident. It was strategic. He made you to have a reason for being. A purpose. When we know these things - and trust God for them - we can lean in to his purpose for our lives.

We can surge.

When we surge into his purpose, a lot of the damaging stress can be avoided. Here's how that works:

Surging into his purpose gives us permission to say "no," and establishes guidelines for saying "yes."  When we are presented with opportunities, ministries, commitments - any involvement at all, our purpose can steer us into wisdom. Does saying "yes" align with what God wants for me? Does it fit how he made me? That knowledge can also set us free to say "no" when we know something doesn't match our purpose. As Jesus said, "Let your yes be yes, and your no be no." 

Surging into his purpose gives a context for relationships. As we've noted, relationships are the breeding ground for compounding damaging stress. But when we know who we are and we are leaning into God's purpose for us, relationships are framed by that purpose.

Jesus himself is the perfect example. Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, in the book "Fearfully and Wonderfully," make this point. Jesus did not heal everyone who was sick in Israel when he lived on earth. Instead, he healed individuals - usually by touching them. Why? Because his purpose framed his relationships with people. He didn't come to be the Great Healer. He came to touch people; to meet them where they were and change their lives.

Surging into his purpose sets the agenda for your time and energy. You and I have limits. We only have so much time, and we only have so much energy. When we overbook our time and we overspend our energy, harmful stress can result. So, how do we know where to draw the line?

Purpose. When we make choices about our time and energy within the path of God's purpose for us, we can do what he wants us to do without burning out.

Jesus himself lived within the limits of his own humanity. He knew that rest was important. He knew that part of saying "yes" was saying "no." He knew that, in order to accomplish the purposes the Father had for him, his limited time and energy needed to be applied to that purpose.

So the question is - who are you and why are you here? 

If you don't know the answer, I think you know who does. Ask him.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 9/15/19

Last week, we talked about purging, and recommended that even people must sometimes be purged from our lives in order to stay away from bad stress.

True. But purging people should probably be a pretty rare event. Most of the time, it's not purging that needs to happen. Most of the time, even when people cause stress, other approaches must be applied. After all, sometimes purging is out of the question.

Let's face reality: everyone in our lives causes stress. At least at some level. It can't be avoided. So, what do we do with people in our lives who cause stress?

After the Apostle Paul offers his wonderful theological treatise in the letter to the Roman church, he (as usual) goes practical. Paul knows that theology is empty without application. He also knows that the recipients of his letter are having a tough time learning how to navigate the waters of Christ-following. They're getting some push-back. They're trying to figure out what to do with all the people in their lives.

So, in Romans 12:9-21, Paul cuts to the rubber-meets-the-road stuff about how to get along with people - even people who cause stress.

Would you read that part of the Bible? When you do, you'll see that Paul crams a whole lot of advice into just a few paragraphs, using short, succinct sentences that are not hard to understand but are pretty hard to accomplish.

Let me just pick out a few. Here's how to reduce "people-stress" in our lives. It takes the practice of these things:

  • Practice showing honor. Let people know they are worth something to God.

  • Practice hospitality. Let people know your personal "door" is always open.

  • Practice empathy. Let people know you get their pain, sorrow, and joy.

  • Practice peace. Let people know you're not out for battle.

  • Practice overcoming evil with good. Let people know that retribution is not part of your MO.

Easy-peasy!  NOT.

But that's why we need to practice. The only way to practice is to start. Start today.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 9/8/19

Stress is life.

Right? Stress is not an aberration. It's normal. Stress is a part of living. In fact, even Jesus himself guarantees that stress will be around: "In the world you will have trouble," he says.

But there is that stress that is debilitating and damaging. It's the stress we think of when we say, "I'm stressed out!" That kind of stress can be harmful.

So, what do we do about it?

Here's a first step: purge.

Marie Kondo, the guru of simplification and joy, suggests that we "tidy up." She's polite that way. Tidying up is just a gentle way of saying PURGE.

Purging is the act of getting rid of stuff that causes stress. There are four Biblical things to purge:

  1. Things. The Bible does not discourage having things. But the Bible makes it clear that the accumulation of things can detour our lives and threaten to overtake our attention. EVERY SINGLE OBJECT OR POSSESSION YOU ADD TO YOUR LIFE DEMANDS SOME LEVEL OF YOUR SOUL'S ATTENTION. For that reason alone, it makes sense to purge our possessions.

  2. People. Yep. The Bible wants us to love people. But God also knows that people can be damaging to us and cause debilitating stress. Some people need to be purged. This includes, according to the Book of Proverbs, people who frequently act out in over-the-top anger, fools, and people who would drag us into sin (see #4).

  3. Striving. Psalm 46:10 says, "Cease striving." It a term used regarding warfare. It's basic meaning is "retreat, relax, lay down your weapons." The phrase is in the middle of a song that encourages our trust in God alone, instead of our attempts to make the world work better or our scurrying around trying to make sure God likes us a lot. Reducing stress means getting off that guinea-pig-exercise-wheel.

  4. Sin. No surprise here. Sin brings consequences. Those consequences bring on stress. Sin also mandates a level of deceit, and deceit must be managed, and deceit management is a great big stress-producer. The problem is, we have an impossible task when it comes to purging sin. It just can't be done by a human being with a built-in propensity to miss the mark - and that's all of us. So what's the remedy? How can we purge sin?

Yep. Only Jesus can do that. 

In fact, all of these purges are accomplished best when Jesus is the focus. "Setting our eyes on him" will measure out the areas of our lives that need purging. And when we purge, peace can replace debilitating stress.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 9/1/19

Kinship. It's the bond that holds us together in Christ. We are kin - brothers and sisters in this family. And that's why, once a month, we devote the service to family time. 

Yesterday we heard some great answers to prayer, along with some needs in the family. We prayed for teachers and educators, and we prayed for the Grace All Around event coming up this weekend - The Three Wishes Project. (Please keep praying!) Our worship, including Communion, was sweet and our fellowship around a common meal was a highlight.

Thanks for making Kinship Service an important part of Grace.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 8/25/19

Under the sun, everything is meaningless.

That is the whole point to the book of Ecclesiastes. Just to confirm our suspicions. To let us know that that hunch we had about life being empty and void was actually true. It is. The Bible says so.

That's the conclusion if we only examine life UNDER THE SUN. Without anything more. Without even much of God in the picture. Certainly without Jesus. Or heaven. Or hell. Or special grace.

If you have reached a similar conclusion to the question, "What is the meaning of life?", know this: You are not alone. Even King Solomon, in all his wisdom, agrees with you.

Under the sun.

BUT WAIT!

Solomon rarely breaks out of that self-limiting barrier in his philosophical search for meaning. But when he does, we should pay attention.

Ecclesiastes 12:1 is a startling revelation. It forces us to think outside the "under-the-sun" boundary. The careful wording is designed to provoke and make us consider a drastically different way of looking at the issue.

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them.”

Two words are especially critical here. "Remember" means to recall with purpose. Not just a memory, but a memory that prompts some action. It's a memory that stirs a reckoning.

"Creator" is a distinct term for God that hasn't shown up in Ecclesiastes until now - which is enough to make us sit up and take notice. This word is almost always used in the Old Testament to refer to God in the process of creation as detailed in Genesis 1-3.

So what is it that Solomon wants us to remember? How does he break us out of the "under-the-sun" umbrella?

He wants us to remember, (and he hopes we still can), that there was a time when "under-the-sun" living wasn't the norm. He wants us to recall that God never created us to live this way. He wants us to peek out of the edge of the umbrella and reacquaint ourselves with the way God intended his creation to work.

HE WANTS US TO REMEMBER THAT GOD CREATED US FOR INTIMACY WITH HIM.

AND HE WANTS US TO REMEMBER THIS BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE.

The purpose of Ecclesiastes is not to leave us mired in the helplessness of a meaningless existence. The purpose of the book is to bring us to the conclusion that life "under the sun" - without a personal, experiential, intimate relationship with God - is not worth much. Solomon wants us to join him in an examination of life, and to agree with his conclusion. But he doesn't drop us off and drive away.

Instead, he says: Remember. Your. Creator.

And then he leaves it to us to trust. TRUST.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 8/11/19

Hebel.

It means vanity, nothingness, emptiness, worthlessness, smoke, vapor, fleeting time.

It's also a word that occurs over and over and over in Ecclesiastes. It's the author's favorite word.

Ecclesiastes is all about a search. A search for answers. Answers to life's big questions. 

What is life all about? What can make me happy? Why am I alive? What is the purpose of life?

The answer, according to Ecclesiastes, is hebel. It's the way the book starts: "“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 1:2

It's also the way the book ends: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 12:8.

Read the book. It will take you a couple hours. It's great stuff. Lots of practical proverbs and help with life situations. But in the end?

It's all hebel.

It's a little hard to understand why such a conclusion about life would even be in the Bible! What does God want for us to get from this? It's depressing! Are we really supposed to believe this? Is this really what God wants us to know about the purpose of life?

Well, yes.

There's another term used in Ecclesiastes a lot. It's the phrase, "under the sun." To help us understand "hebel" - the meaninglessness of life - you also have to grasp the importance of the phrase, "under the sun." The author of the book, (probably Solomon for most of it), used "under the sun" as a key that unlocks what he means about hebel. "Under the sun" suggests a context - a certain boundary, limitation, location - for the meaninglessness of life.

And we'll talk about it next Sunday.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 8/4/19

We had a great time worshiping and sharing together this morning. It is so good to hear of God answering prayer, and going to him to seek his intervention in our lives. 

Becca and the Grace Band taught us a new song at the end of our service. I'm still emotional from the impact of the Holy Spirit in that song. We'll sing it again soon.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 7/14/19

The end of 2 Samuel represents the conclusion of David's effective reign over Israel. Much of the last few chapters recount the great days of David's life and ascension to the throne.

But then there's chapter 24. Go ahead and read it.

There are so many challenging aspects of this story, it's impossible to cover it all here. In the end, we have to trust that God always acts within his character, and so whatever he did here, he did within his love, mercy, justice, and righteousness. It's a matter of our trust in him.

Which really is the whole point of the story. 

David "counts" Israel. This is technically not a census - a mere counting of heads. It's a detailed and organized military resource assessment, enacted by the leaders of David's army.

But those commanders know that it's all wrong. In fact, it doesn't take David himself long to recognize that what he had done by this assessment was, in fact, wickedness and sin.

Why? We're not told outright exactly why this is a sin for David. Others in the Old Testament had done the same thing, and it wasn't judged a sin. So why here?

It's not a stretch to figure out the answer. This was sin for David because of one thing: he didn't trust God. There was no threat. There was no crisis which motivated the counting. David just didn't trust. His mistrust lead him to assess his military readiness, instead of resting in God's ability to protect. 

You can see from reading the chapter that the consequences for David and all of Israel were very grave. As is the case for all sin.

All sin has its background in the same mistrust of God. Name any sin that comes to mind, and you will be able to trace its origin in a lack of trust in God. Even in David's life, every sinful episode in which he failed to make a righteous decision is prompted by his lack of trust. The same is true for us.

So how do we engage in a trust habit that can minimize the possibility of sin? Here are four disciplines that can help:

  • Decision mindfulness

  • Prayer

  • Bible reading

  • Good advisers

Proverbs 3:5-6 (Benson Paraphrase)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don't lean on your own understanding. In all your decisions, bring him in on the matter - trust him -  and he will set you on the right path.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 7/7/19

KINSHIP SUNDAY! 

What a good day to worship, spend time with God and each other, and nurture the Family of God. If you haven't been at Grace on the first Sunday of the month, you should make it a priority. You can't get this anywhere else.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 6/30/19

The grace of God through Jesus Christ provides forgiveness of sin. Even the big ones. Even the great, big, stinking ones.

David sinned. Big time. It was huge. It was an abuse of his power and position. It was out of character. It was horrible. But God forgave that sin.

Read all about the sordid details in 2 Samuel 11 - 12. Nakedness. Lust. Sex. Conspiracy. Murder. It's all in there. And it's all forgiven.

But . . . 

Even though sin has been forgiven does not exempt us from its consequences. And, in David's case, the consequences are grave. 

Just because sin is forgiven does not mean we should continue to sin! Sin hurts us. It hurts the people around us. It leaves damage that can pour out on generations to come. David's sin was a decision. A decision that went south because selfishness overwhelmed wisdom. 

Here's how that happened with David and happens in us. A decision to sin occurs . . .

  • When we avoid responsibility.

  • When we give attention to temptation.

  • When we lie to ourselves.

  • When we cover up the problem.

  • When we presume on God's grace.

In that moment of decision, when temptation is ripe, we need to trust God to give us the power to avoid the sin.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 6/23/19

Last week, Ivan Suarez, owner of restaurant Llagar de Colloto in Spain, set the Guinness World Record for most expensive cheese sold at auction. He paid $16,142.41 for 5.78 pounds of artisan blue cheese.

Why? I DON'T KNOW.

But obviously, Ivan has his priorities.

What are your priorities? Ivan's priority brought him to a place where he would take action on what was important to him. His decision was based on his priorities.

David, too, was driven to decide based on his priority. In 2 Samuel 6, we see David's priority unfold. Read it and you'll discover what it is.

OK. I'll just tell you. David's priority is getting God's presence to the place it belongs - in the capital of Jerusalem, the center of Israel.

We all have things that are important to us, and they form our priority architecture for decision-making. Family, friendships, occupation, education, ministry - all possible priorities in the structure. All taking a place as we make decisions.

David had those kinds of priorities. Establishing a nation. Procuring peace. Bring prosperity to his people. But there was one thing that drove all the others. God's presence in the place it belongs.

Want to know how to make decisions that are good - decisions that matter for eternity? Put God in the center place of that priority structure, and let your decisions flow from that presence.

 

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 6/16/19

When I set up our pool this year, I knew I'd need to turn on the pump and filter right away. The cottonwood trees were in full "snow" production, and I needed that filter to do some work.

All of us use filters to make decisions. Our choices are always conditioned by those filters. You may not ever have thought about those filters, or considered that you're using them, but every decision you make is passed through a set of filters that help you to say "yes" or "no" to that choice.

Let's use your breakfast as an example. What filters did you use to choose what you ate for breakfast? A filter of your likes and dislikes. A filter of what is healthy and what is not. A filter of what someone made for you and whether you would eat that or choose something else. See how it works? 

We don't always have to actually think about the filters, but they are there just the same. 

David didn't arrive in the city of Jerusalem accidentally. He didn't find a crown along the side of the road and put it on and declare himself to be king of all Israel. 

Want to read something swashbuckling and cool? Read the last ten chapters of 1 Samuel. Chart the number of decisions David made. Slide all the way into the first five chapters of 2 Samuel. And then ask this: what filters did David use to make his choices?

In 2 Sam 2 and 5, we can learn about a few of those filters - decision filters that we would do well to share with David:

  • He inquired of the Lord. David had this amazing way of conversing with Almighty God!

  • He covenanted with God's people. David viewed his ties to the community of faith as a filter through which he could make decisions. We do not act for self; our decisions are not made in isolation of others.

  • He proceeded to take the stronghold. Filters are not meant to halt progress toward the goal. In spite of the obstacles and the odds, we need to keep moving forward to God's will. If God is directing, and the filters of purpose are in place, eventually it must be time to take action.

Today, this week, this month - you will make decisions. How you decide will be based on the filters you have in place in your life. How will God factor in to those filters and decisions?

 

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 6/9/19

[OK. This week I'm going to make you work a little. Are you ready?]

Put a thousand mouse traps in a big room. Arm them and place a ping pong ball on each one. Then throw a ping pong ball into the center. What do you get?

Like ping pong balls flying into and bouncing off one another, our decisions affect the decisions of others around us. My decisions are not made in a empty room, with no consequences beyond my own individual life. Those choices I make influence and even set off decisions of other people.

Think of your family unit. Whether good or bad or indifferent, the decision of one family member often - usually - always? - has direct power to influence the decisions of others in the family. The same is true of friendships, workplace environments, schools, and virtually any other place or situation in life. Unless you're Tom Hanks living your life out alone on a desert island, your decisions affect other people.

We form webs of decisions, networks of choices where our ping pong ball sets of chain reactions of decisions of those around us.

David's experience recorded in I Samuel 25 illustrates this decision-web phenomenon. Would you be willing to read it? As you do, notice the three major players in the story. Identify the decisions that each of the three make, and trace those decisions as the other players interact with the choices made. And ask yourself: Which one of these people chooses best? Which one brings God into the decision-web?

Make a list on paper:

What choices does Nabal make?
What choices does David make?
What choices does Abigail make?
Who factors God's plans into the decision-web?

I'm not going to give you the answers. (If you listen to the sermon here, you can get some of the answers!)

Now, one more question: Will you be like Nabal, or David, or Abigail? 

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 6/2/19

Great day of communion and community! We shared quality worship with our Grace Band. We applauded and prayed for Gabriel and Erika (and Faile, too!) who are all recent grads. We spent some time praying for many needs and concerns. We talked about the need to remember the "why" of our faith. We received Communion together and fellowship around the tables at Grace Grub. We spend the morning celebrating the Family of God!

Next Sunday we'll return to our series on Decisions from the life of David.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 5/26/19

From the moment we're alive, the decisions we make are critically dependent on one thing.

Relationships. 

Think about it. When we make decisions - especially important ones - we make them with people. Even if we don't share the decision out loud with anyone else, the decision is usually made with people in mind. And, if you're smart, you get counsel and advice with the big decisions of your life from the people you love and trust.

That's why friendships - relationships - are vitally important to making good decisions. Who you go to for advice makes a big difference in which choices you make. The people you have surrounding you likely have some share of influence on the directions you go.

It makes plain good sense to surround yourself with quality friends. That's what David did.

In I Samuel 18-20, we get a picture of David's closest friendship. David becomes a friend to the son of King Saul, Jonathan. As described in the Bible, this relationship is very close, and sets the benchmark for quality friendships. Read those chapters and you'll see that there are several things about these friends that God uses to influence decisions. 

  • A strong friendship provides confidence.

  • A sacrificial friendship provides options and freedom.

  • A loyal friendship provides honest guidance. 

Who do you have in your life that serves as that kind of friend? (Don't say "Jesus." I know he's your friend, and that is VERY IMPORTANT. But God wants us to have friends around us, physically with us, who will serve as flesh-and-blood surrogates.)

A second question: To whom are you a friend providing these important attributes? Is your friendship with other people leading them to Godly decisions?

 

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 5/19/19

David and Goliath. Heard of that one?

Of course you have. Have you read the story recently? Here it is: 1 Samuel 17 (ESV)

What a great story. It describes a moment of decision - made by David - that is, arguably, one of the most amazing decisions in the Old Testament. David decides to go up against Goliath, the Philistine giant from Gath.

Goliath. Big, ugly, scary obstacle to forward spiritual momentum.

Israel is (still) working on God's plan to remove the Philistines from the land. That's where God wants them. But the big, ugly, scary giant stands - literally - in the way.

You and I face giants. Goliaths in our lives are big, ugly, scary obstacles that stand in the way of our own forward spiritual momentum. These big boundaries stand between where we are now and where God wants us to be.

David makes a decision to take a stand for and with God against the giant. What does it take to make a decision like that? Here are five stones for making decisions:

  • A willingness to be a servant. 

  • A desire to see things differently.

  • A determination to engage abilities.

  • A choice to trust God's help.

  • The courage to stand now.

Where are the giants standing in your way? Where will you take your stand?

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 5/12/19

Between getting anointed as King and killing Goliath, something interesting happens. David gets picked as a psychological musician to a monarch who is having problems.

Saul is that other king. He's the king that is on his way out so that David can take his place. But in the meantime, Saul is having fits of madness that need attention, and his advisers suggest that a nice mini-concert on a stringed instrument would provide the comfort and soothing to calm the king. So they look for someone who is a master of the lyre. (Because nobody is soothed by a stinky lyre player).

Guess who plays the lyre? Yep. David is a proficient lyre-prodigy. Not only that, but David is not only "skillful in playing," but he is also "a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.” (I Samuel 16:18).

So David becomes the comforter of the king, as well as his armor-bearer. Which basically means that David was Saul's chief body guard who played a really mean lyre.

(Imagine if the Secret Service agents protecting the President also broke out in a rockin' and rollin' dance number while they escorted him from place to place!)

Our topic is decision-making. David doesn't make any decisions here - at least none mentioned in detail by the author of this history. But, like all situations in life, the decisions here lie in the background. It's like one of those hidden picture puzzles on the back page of your Highlights magazine in the doctor's office: the decisions are there all the time, you just have to look for them.

If you look for them here you'll find them in the way David was ready for the assignment. Look back at that description. These things don't happen by accident. David was ready on purpose.

No - he probably didn't know WHAT he was getting ready for. Neither do you. Neither do I.

But readiness is an important decision.

  • It means being prepared.

  • It means being available.

  • It means being in tune with the heart of God.

So when the call came, it was David who came to serve.

Are you ready? 

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 5/5/19

We prayed together. We worshiped together. We shared our burdens together. We learned more about God and each other together. We came before the Lord in Communion together. And we shared a great meal together (THANKS, LEADERSHIP TEAM, FOR THE GREAT MEXICAN FARE!).

THIS IS KINSHIP!

 

Beth WiseComment