RealMen’s reflections on David & Saul

Something that I have been mulling over since I came home from the RealMen’s conference was something Graham Maybury said in one of his messages.

Graham looked at the examples of Saul and David and their response to when a prophet came and told them they were in sin. Saul’s story can be found in 1 Samuel 15 and David’s in 2 Samuel 12.

David responded with a wonderful prayer of confession that is found in Psalm 51. Verse 4 sums it up perfectly when it says, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge”.

If we contrast this to Saul’s reply. “I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD your God.”

David’s response was purely about confession before God and getting right with God. Saul’s words were about confessing, but they seemed to be tied to his reputation before the Elders and people of Israel.

I guess the thing that has been rolling around inside me is the man I would prefer to be. I would prefer to be the one who was more interested in getting right with God when I sin, rather than having more concern for the peoples opinion or my reputation.

I really enjoyed RealMen’s and this was one of the key moments that spoke to me.

God Bless,

Dave

Starting your day with Jesus

In the Bible we see there are a number of ocassion when Jesus got up early to pray and start His day with the Father.

Mark 1:35 is a good example of this. It seems that Jesus made a connection with His Father during His prayer time. It seems that He also received guidance because He said they needed to go off and preach in other towns.

As I have shared before I am someone who tries to start each day in prayer. I have my Bible and a prayer journal to record my prayer needs and my prayer for others and any Bible reflections I have. At the moment I am doing this in a free program called idailydiary.

Today as I finished doing this I was reminded that how by starting my day with Jesus in this way helps me to centre my day on Him. Instead of starting to think about work, my problems or things I need to do, I could start with Jesus in my mind. It is a much better way to start the day.

If you don’t do this I would encourage you to do so. From my perspective it helps me to leave the house with Jesus on my mind and I leave with a totally different focus.

God Bless,
Dave

God focussed ambitions?

When I was growing up it was considered good to be ambitious. People who had ambition and a purpose at young age were thought of well and looked upon favourably. I have to admit that I was never overly ambitious for anything as a kid and into my teens!

But what is ambition and is it good or bad to be ambitious? Dictionary.com says that ambition is “an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment”.

As you can see from the above definition ambition is about having a goal or dream and striving to attain it. It doesn’t take much to see that there can be good and bad ambitions. Ambition can be either both positive or negative depending on how it is worked out.

When I did a Bible search on the word ambition I found six main references in the NIV. Two were what I would consider positive (Romans 15:20, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12) and four were negative and were talking about selfish ambition that is self seeking (Galatians 5:20, Philippians 1:17, Philippians 2:3, James 3:14-16).

One positive reference for ambiton is found in Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. Romans 15:20 says, “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation”. Preaching the Gospel and bringing people to Christ is very positive and something worth aspiring too.

The second positive reference is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12. It says, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody”. Paul encourages the believers to be ambitous to live a good life in front of non believers.

I think the key for me is that ambition needs to be focussed for good and be God focussed. I have never been ambitious to have the biggest house, earn the most money or have the most “toys”. But I am ambitious to be the best husband and father I can be, have a close walk with God and see people become lifelong followers of Jesus.

How about you? Are you ambitious? Are your ambitions God focussed and for the good of others? I think this is worth reflecting on today.

God Bless,

Dave

Jesus’ words are eternal

The Bible says in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”.

Jesus said these words at the end of a section the NIV titles “Sings of the End of the Age”. He talks about things happening before He returns.

He talks about things like wars and rumours of wars, people falling away from faith, Christians being deceived, people claiming to be Christ and more.

In other places the Bible also tells us that our world is going to be destroyed by fire (2 Peter 3:7-13) and a new heaven and earth will replace it (Revelation 21:1).

The thing I find interesting in this verse is the thought that even though this world will pass away, Christ’s words ARE eternal! They are forever words!

I find it comforting to know that even thought Jesus spoke them 2000 years ago…He backs them up eternally.

God Bless,

Dave

10 things to remember from Hebrews 13

I was reading through Hebrews 13:1-9 yesterday. It is where the Apostle Paul is winding down his letter to the Hebrew people. In it her shares a number of things that he wants them to remember.

Today I want to share them as I think they are good for us to remember too!

  1. Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters (v1)
  2. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers (v2)
  3. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison (v3)
  4. Marriage should be honored by all…for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral (v4)
  5. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have (v5)
  6. God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (v5)
  7. So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid (v6)
  8. Remember your leaders…and imitate their faith (v7)
  9. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (v8)
  10. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings (v9)

Just plans and wicked advice

Proverbs 12:5 says, “The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful”.

Righteous people or people who try to live right before God have plans that are good and just. Their thoughts and intentions are fair and honest. They desire to do what is right by God and for those around them.

Contrast this to the plans of a wicked person. They are only interested in getting what they want and do not care how they go about it. Their moral choices and decisions are questionable and often cause others pain or loss.

So how do we know if the person we are dealing with is righteous? The best way is to look for someone with demonstrated character and integrity over a long period of time. Someone who has concern for not only themselves but those around them too.

Of course this doesn’t always guarantee good or successful advice. But these things say a lot about who they are as a person and their motivations behind the advice they are offering.

God Bless,

Dave

Paul’s love for the churches

One of the things that has really come through in my daily Bible readings this year is Paul’s great love for the local church. In a number of his letters he describes his love for the people in the local church and his desire to see it thrive.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:7-11 Paul talks about his previous visit to Thessalonica and how they treated the people like a nursing mother treats her child (v7) and how a good father treats his children (v11). His love especially for the local church really shines through especially in verse 8. In the NLT he says, “We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too”.

The heart of the matter is that Paul loved the local church so much that he invested his whole life into it. He knew that if people were going to be all they can be for Christ and persevere, then the local church would need to be strong and thrive. Accordingly he spent his life planting churches and sowing into them.

How about you? Do you have a real love for the local church? Do you long to see it grow and thrive so God’s Kingdom can come to your local area? Like Paul, I think it is something worth investing your life into.

God Bless,
Dave

Questions to ask a Bible passage

When I read the Bible I am always conscious that God may want to speak to me through it. As I read a chapter a day I prayerfully try to ask myself a number of questions. Here are some that may help you in your readings.

  1. Is there an example for me to try to follow?
  2. Is there a clear command that I should obey?
  3. Has someone made a mistake I can learn from?
  4. Is there a sin mentioned that I need to avoid?
  5. Is there a promise I can claim for my situation?
  6. Does this teach me something new about God?
  7. Does this teach me how to be closer to God?
  8. Does this give me guidance that I can follow?

I find that when I read a passage and I am asking these questions, I am more open to God to speak and teach me something new.

God Bless,
Dave