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Posts Tagged ‘Goliath’

Use What You Have

July 25th, 2018

Doing all you can requires using all you have.

“God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.” Romans 12:6 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are, “use what you have.”

It is easy to imagine all the wonderful things you could do, if only you had more to work with. Ever felt that way? More of what? More opportunities? More help? More resources? More education? More skills? More experience? More advantages? Fewer challenges? Less difficulties? The list is endless and excuses continuous, while successes remain unaccomplished.

You have more than you realize. You have more than you use. Use what you have. Doing all you can first requires using all you have. It’s simple really. Inventory what you have rather than what you lack. Then God will provide what you need. Paul was confident, “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NIV.

The Bible is a reliable history of God at work through His people. God’s Word is filled with people and instances when they used what they had and God did what they could not have done alone. Everyone loves the story of David and Goliath. David had only a shepherd’s sling and God beside him. That was enough. King Saul tried to equip him with his own armor, helmet, and sword. See 1 Samuel 17:36-49 NKJ. What you don’t have is not the issue. In God, what you do have is enough.

The Bible spotlights individuals that rose out of obscurity to achieve something others did not dare to try. Have you ever heard of Shamgar? Probably not. His name appears only twice in the Bible, and very little is known about him, except his name, his origin, and the very difficult national and personal times in which he lived. See Judges 5:6-8 NKJ.

Danger and desperation made daily life difficult. Israel’s men were disarmed and defenseless. Because of his fearless exploits, his fame was included in people’s songs and Israel’s oral history years later. What did he do? Well, first consider what he did not do. He did not dismiss the possibility of courage against unimaginable opposition by first calculating the odds and then doing nothing at all. But here’s what Shamgar did. Single-handedly, “Shamgar struck down six hundred Philistines with an ox goad. He too saved Israel.” Judges 3:31 NIV. One man, unarmed, against six hundred seasoned Philistine warriors.

He used what he had, a common ox goad, just a wooden stick tipped with bronze that a farmer used to prod his work animals. A simple ox goad was enough for God to provide a decisive victory. A common farm utensil was not much at all, except in the hands of a determined and courageous farmer, whose valor brought about a rousing victory that emboldened the heart of a nation to stand bravely and proudly against its enemy.

An unusual story? Yes, but not an uncommon one in the Bible. Has God changed from Shamgar’s time and yours. He is, “the same yesterday and forever.” Does His story sound familiar to you, like Moses and a shepherd’s staff, or Gideon and his trumpet, or Samson and a jawbone, or David and a slingshot, or a boy with a small lunch of bread and fish? God’s story is about using ordinary people in extraordinary ways, when they choose to use what they have for God’s purposes and glory.

You may not have what you need; you may not have everything you want; you may not have what others have. He does not promise all your wants, but He does promise all your needs. Trust Him to know the difference when you do not. You have something that God can use.

“God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability . . do it well.” Read Romans 12:6-8 NLT. Remember, the key to doing all you can is trusting all you have into God’s hands. The saddest thing at the close of a day, a year, or a lifetime, is to regret not doing all you could when you could.

My prayer for you is to see God supply all you need and multiply all you have.

Christian Communications 2018-73010

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Integrity and Skillfulness

December 9th, 2015

Allen Randolph

For any of you living in the St Louis, MO/Granite City, IL area, I will be speaking next Sunday, December 13, 10:45 am, at City Temple, 4751 Maryville Rd, Granite City, IL. I would love to meet you after the service.

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“Bless all his skills, O Lord; be pleased with the work of his hands.” Deuteronomy 33:11 NIV.

The Gifts and anointing of the Holy Spirit are invaluable.

My thoughts and comments today are about “Integrity and Skillfulness.”

You have a potential beyond whatever your natural abilities and talents may be. If you wish to realize your potential and be exceptionally successful, there are skills you will need to acquire – intellectual, social, business, writing, speaking, and other practical skills of everyday life that require your best effort and diligent practice. However well you develop your natural skills, there is a spiritual potential that is important to your becoming all that God has designed you to be. Beyond your own best efforts, God offers something more – His blessing and anointing. The Gifts and anointing of the Holy Spirit are invaluable. Without those, the best of yourself will never be realized. Ephesians 4:13 NIV.

In particular, our current theme of “Integrity” has focused on God’s testimony about David from Psalm 78:72 NKJV, “So David shepherded (fed) them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided (led) them by the skillfulness of his hands.” David’s heart aligned with God’s heart. From his heart and hands, David fulfilled God’s ministry assignment to him; David fed and led Israel with integrity and skills. God is interested in both your inner character and outward skills. To fully achieve God’s calling upon your life, both who you are and what you can do will be required.

David demonstrated qualifications of both heart and hands. With a shepherd’s sling David evidenced physical skills to protect his father’s sheep against a lion and a bear, which prepared him to defeat Goliath without fear or hesitation. Read 1 Samuel 17:32-37. Equally important, God used David’s spiritual sensitivities and musical skills to soothe Saul’s troubled spirit and refresh the King with rest. David was described as one, “who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.” Read 1 Samuel 16:16-23. The final phrase is the most important of all that is said about David. That is quite a well-rounded description of attributes.

In matters of ministry and service, a spiritually empty heart results in hands without blessing to God or for man; a heart overflowing with God results in life-giving hands toward others. Jesus was clear, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45 NIV. There must be consistency of your heart and hands. A simple act of touch has the power of spiritual impartation. A hand reaching out to another offers hope and help. Your hand on a shoulder can encourage. A pat on the back can cheer and congratulate. An embrace can express comfort.

As Moses faced the end of his life, he spoke blessings over the twelve tribes, that had arisen from the twelve sons of Jacob. Moses spoke blessing over Levi, the priestly tribe, “Bless all his skills, O Lord; be pleased with the work of his hands.” Deuteronomy 33:11 NI V. It is interesting to read the entire chapter, Deuteronomy 33. God has personal blessings just for you.

Today, I pray for you that your skills would be blessed and useful to God’s purposes.

Reminder: This is the final of three devotionals, “Integrity and Potential, Integrity of Heart, and Integrity and Skillfulness.” All of this series are available at the EDL website, www.allenrandolph.com. If you have not yet listened to my video teaching on Integrity titled, “Heart and Hands,” I encourage you to do so. Just click on the title here . .

Christian Communications

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Courage and Confidence

April 29th, 2015

“Stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.“ 1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV.

Face your fear or your present fear will control your future.

My thoughts and comments today are about “courage and confidence.”

Years earlier, there had been a difficult and disappointing church situation, and I was not sure what the outcome might be in many people’s lives, people that I pastored and for which I was responsible. Feeling embattled, I envisioned a favorite Bible story of personal courage, the battlefield scene between David and Goliath. See 1 Samuel 17:1-25.

As I read Samuel’s description of the occasion, “As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him.” (1 Sam 17:48 NLT), I could “see” David with only a simple, shepherd’s sling, yet running with abandon directly toward the towering, armor-clad warrior that all others feared. In my heart, I knew the Lord was speaking directly to me about courage and confidence. My situation seemed to require more courage and confidence than I was experiencing.

David story captures one’s imagination – young David against Goliath, a seasoned warrior. Because of its larger than life storybook ending, the phrase “David against Goliath” has even become a part of secular speech. Though an actual event, it also provides a powerful metaphor of times and situations that you will face, where the odds of success are clearly unfavorable and the ultimate outcome questionable to everyone, except you and God.

God seems to love those kinds of real life stories. Moses against powerful Pharaoh. Joseph betrayed by his brothers. Three Hebrew captives righteously defying a Persian King and his fiery furnace. Daniel facing ravenous lions. Elijah facing down the 450 prophets of Baal. Paul staring at a treacherous storm at sea and declaring, “Fear not, be of good cheer.” Read Hebrews 11.

In just such times, you must first face the fear to move forward with courage, to do what needs to be done without hesitation, to do what others will not do and doubt that you can. At such times, your faith has to overpower every fear and uncertainty. Read 1 Samuel 17:8-11. The natural inclination is to run the opposite direction, away from the confrontation and danger. But if you do, your fear will chase and haunt you forever. Face your fear or your present fear will control your future.

Without hesitation, “David quickly ran out to meet [Goliath].” The sight of this diminutive shepherd boy coming his way did not frighten Goliath, but he must have been momentarily startled to see the preposterous sight, startled just long enough for David to seal Goliath’s fate forever. As he was known to do on other occasions, “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6 KJV. I suggest two practical things that strengthened David’s courage.

(1) David had experience with God. “The Lord who saved me from the claws of the lion and the bear will save me from this Philistine.” Read 1 Samuel 17:32-37. If God has not failed you before, your God will not fail you now. If God has always provided your needs before, He will still provide for you. His Word promises you, “No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11. Look past the size of your fear; remember the size of your God.

(2) David had courage for God’s honor and others’ well-being. “Who is this pagan Philistine that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?. . the God of the armies of Israel that you have defied.” 1 Samuel 17:26 and 45 NLT. The situation I faced was not of a scale such as David’s, but I found courage for similar reasons. I had God’s honor to uphold, and people who depended on me to lead with courage and confidence. Courage is not about your safety. True courage is rallied for God’s honor and others’ well-being. “Stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.“ 1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV. Being encouraged is volitional more than emotional.

Today, my prayer for you is that you will show courage when time and circumstance require.

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Wholehearted

October 30th, 2013

“Enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well.”  Galatians 6:4 NLT.

Wholehearted is the one acceptable standard for your relationship with God.

My thoughts and comments today are about being “wholehearted.”

Casual is not an attitude that breeds success. Like every father trying to motivate a teenager, my Dad would often say, “Allen, anything worth doing is worth doing well.”Recognizing that my temperament was not Type A, Dad taught me the importance of being serious and focused on the things that truly matter. Casual is an attitude only for things of lesser importance.

Here is how I see this working out. Our culture seems to have made casual and leisure into a religion of sorts. Dress has gone from casual to careless. Social communication has embraced casual until grammar and spelling, and complete words and sentences, are deemed non-essential. Street slang and accepted levels of profanity have gravely discounted language. Marriage and relationships are treated casually, as though dispensable and replaceable by something or someone newer and more presently exciting and less exacting. Casual has become a way of life, and other things have suffered or been lost along the way. Casual is the adversary of commitment; good is the enemy of best.

This is not a tirade to preserve the past, but a caution that the spirit of such a lifestyle does not impose itself on your spiritual life. Wholehearted is the one acceptable standard for your relationship with God. Actually, your faith and the wholeheartedness with which you live it should be the influence that makes you desire every area of your life to be more diligent and effective. Paul advises, “Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” Galatians 6:4 NLT. You cannot afford to be casual about spiritual matters; they have life and death, even eternal consequence, for you.

You need to know who God says you are, and not mindlessly accept what the culture suggests that you can or should be. You need to know what God’s work is for you to do, and not merely accept the world’s current of career choices and images of success. And when you know who you are and what you are to do, give yourself wholeheartedly to success there.

That was the deciding difference between young David and his brothers, and because of that Goliath was defeated. Again, let me say,wholehearted is the one acceptable standard for your relationship with God. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT.

“Whatever you do, do it heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve . . as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” Colossians 3:23-24NAS/Ephesians 6:6-7. Life is simpler when you always give God your best.

My prayer for you today is that God will hold your heart, all of it at all times!

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It’s Not About You

October 17th, 2012

“The battle is the Lord’s.” 1 Samuel 17:47 NIV.

A battle never bravely joined is a battle never won, and an enemy never defeated.

My thoughts and comments today are that “it’s not about you.”

No one is exempt from battles. To do right and be right, you will be challenged and attacked. There is much at stake, eternally at stake. It is important that you be mentally, emotionally and spiritually prepared or you will live in fear and/or defeat. The Old Testament prophet, Samuel, relates the consequential battle between David and Goliath. Read 1 Samuel 17:11/24. Why would battle-seasoned men cower for forty days while Goliath taunted them twice a day, with no response except their dismay and fear? David heard Goliath’s taunt the first time and recognized the real issue. The battle was not about the men on the field; the real battle was about the honor and character of Israel’s God. Read 1 Samuel 17:45-47 NKJV.

If you could see that the spiritual battles you face are not all about you – your victory or failure over some point of obedience and righteousness. The present battle is merely the most recent attempt of your enemy to defeat you through unrelenting taunts and intimidation so that you are afraid to engage him in conflict. This is about your God – whether your God is big enough, strong enough, caring enough, and faithful enough to protect you and give you victory. What do you really believe about God in your heart?

Your enemy is counting on your not resisting; he is planning on your running scared, again. A battle never bravely joined is a battle never won, and an enemy never defeated. David understood what was at stake. The daily taunts would not stop. This enemy would not grow weary and go away quietly. There are battles that simply cannot be ignored. “For You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued under me those who rose up against me.” Psalm 18:37-40 NKJV.

Jehoshaphat, a king of Judah, faced a similar threat. Three armies were gathered against Judah, surrounding and outnumbering them. Read 2 Chronicles 20:1-13. As the King and people sought the Lord and fasted, God spoke through a prophet, “The Lord says to you, do not be afraid nor dismayed . . for the battle is not yours, the battle is the Lord’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:14. The battle is the Lord’s! That simple truth is the difference between your victory or defeat! Don’t be afraid; be encouraged.

If the battle is the Lord’s – the size of the enemy does not matter! Gideon had to learn that uncomfortable lesson when God whittled the size of his already outnumbered army down from 32,000 men to just 300. Listen to God’s reasoning, “The people that are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into your hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself, saying ‘My own hand has saved me.” Judges 7:2. The odds may not be in your favor, but God is. God’s power is not greater with more, nor diminished by few.

If the battle is the Lord’s – your weakness or strength is irrelevant! Zechariah discovered that the battle is won “not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord.” Zechariah 4:6. God taught Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. David understood that the battle with Goliath was not his fight – “The battle is the Lord’s!” The men around David talked only about the giant they saw before them. David spoke only of the Almighty God who was beside him. David saw what they didn’t and refused to think what they did. I suggest that you do the same.

My prayer for you today is that you will have confidence in God and draw courage in every battle.

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