“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
1 Peter 1:3-4, 7
So had an experience yesterday where these verses I had sent out came to play big time! I couldn’t get away from God’s promise of new life, and “now we live in great expectation.” For me to write about it on the God Gold and read it is one thing but truly believing it so it’s true in your life, that’s a whole other story. I don’t know if you do this but I can hype it up and talk about how much I believe all day long but when life hands you trials or tough circumstances, it’s easy to see if it’s all talk or actual belief. Heard this the other day that emphasized these truths even more, “usually a person acts and lives in what they most strongly believe.”
I had a job interview yesterday and if you’ve been to one before you know how nerve-racking they can be. I had been telling myself and others all day, I’m good, I got this, I’m not nervous at all. Then I get in the car to go to the actual interview and I’m not feeling as confident as I sounded. It was game-time and I didn’t want to show up. I had no reason to be but I was nervous, my hands were getting sweaty and I even had the thought, “I don’t need the money, maybe I can invent something or come up with a cool new idea.” Honestly I just wanted to go anywhere but the interview
Then it hit me like taking a Rocky Balboa left hook to the chin, I had some questions come up, “dude don’t you believe in this life with Christ, the great expectation of having the Son of God by your side, His freedom, His victory, the inheritance of eternal life.” Those questions hit me hard because I was once again acting and living out of what I had, what I felt, and it brought nothing but fear and defeat into my mind, heart and most of all my expectations. The most freeing feeling was sitting there realizing, whether I get this job or not it’s not going to mess up the most important part of my life which is my relationship with Christ. If I get it then He must want me there, if I don’t then He’s got somewhere else for me to go, either way I’m going to be fine because I’m with Him, in His will, and no matter what happens I’m a child of God. Seeing His will like that gave me supreme confidence to walk in there with that “so…” attitude. So what if I don’t get this job, the Lord has another plan. So what if I completely blow it, the Lord must be teaching me something. I don’t have all the qualifications, so what??
Those great expectations in Christ became reality for me in that moment, not because I did anything special, the truth was too real not to believe with all I had. Going back to that quote, if you believe that nothing can stop you or hurt you as a Child of God walking in God’s will, if you believe that Christ has set great expectations for you. You live and walk in your strongest beliefs. It’s not doing something, it’s believing what He’s already done. That moment was just a mini trial and tough situation compared to ones I’ve had before and the trials people go through all around me every day. It was a big learning moment about faith and Christ that I can take into any trial that comes my way and you can too!
The truth is we face these trials and tough situations every day in our lives but how do act and live faithfully through them? Usually when life starts hitting you from all directions the easy thing to do is believe the lies you tell yourself, “I can’t get past this, I’ll never be good enough.” Or believe what the world tells you, “he’ll always be that way, he’ll never do anything in his life.” That’s like if you walk onto a football field with low expectations, expecting to lose and not stand a chance, guess what!? You will lose and you won’t stand a chance. That’s the stinkin awesome thing about having a relationship with Jesus Christ! When your identity is in Him, the Son of God, your identity isn’t in the yours or the worlds low expectations. When trials come and you feel too weak or too scared to feel anything but defeated, remind yourself where your identity is! Remind yourself that it doesn’t matter what you got or how bad it looks because Christ has given you another way, a way of great expectations, victory!!
That’s where these second set of verses hit me because too often I believe all the lies and low expectations we set for ourselves. I wonder why I can’t just have more faith when the fire comes? I easily forget that my identity is in Christ and so what if the fire comes! With Christ I can take all the hits, handle anything that comes my way. It’s really just as simple as looking at these verses, the literal Word of God speaking to you, He tells us the truth about who we are in Christ. He tells us about the inheritance we have to look forward to, the power and strength that comes with faith. Even if you struggle to believe Him and these truths for you like I have. Yesterday, after always praying, talking to God asking for so many different things, seeing the pricelessness of faith and what belief in Christ, what He has done for us and who we are with Him in this new life. It’s so hard to believe and have faith after spending so many years of our lives being defeated and trapped in this mindset of our situation will never change. I know for me it’s because I only like to believe what I can see with my own two eyes. So yesterday I asked God for help in an area that I should of embraced with Him long ago, “God strengthen my belief, help me learn more about you and Who you are, help me seek you more and keep my identity in you as a constant reminder.”
I say all that because I struggle so much and even more in trials, I struggle to have faith. I struggle to see past my old life as a weak, defeated person and to truly believe the truth about my new life in Christ. All I want to do is live more to please God, to live better, to live with my eyes set on eternity. Understanding the simple fact that it’s not something I can DO, it’s something that’s been done, believe it. To live it and walk in these great expectations that Christ has given us, believe. Even when the trials come, believe. It sounds so hard to believe when all hell is breaking loose around you but Christ has given you another way, Christ will renew your hope, set your eyes on the eternity that can’t be taken away, He’ll show you the freedom that comes in believing and living in these great expectations as a victorious Child of God. You may be get spit on, “so what…..” You may lose everything you own, your job, “so what….” You may feel so scared and nervous, “so what…” You have Christ, you have eternity to look forward to, you have freedom to walk in His victory. Can’t nothing hurt you, can’t nothing beat you because you are a Child of God.
“A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables. The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger.
I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense. I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down. Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson: A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.”
Proverbs 24:3-5, 30-34
I ran across these verses today in Proverbs. I always here words like “rich” and “poor” in the Word and automatically understand it as we see them, having money or not. Looking around in the chapter more after seeing this story about a lazy person, it’s easier to see that God weighs what’s rich and what’s poor on a whole different scale.
Coming from a person who has a lot of experience in being a little too lazy at times, these verses really helped me see where I’m wrong in the way I live daily and how important it is to stay on the grind. Seeing what my dawg Yoga had to say about it, as much as we complicate it all, it’s really pretty daggum simple. “Do or do not, there is no try.” Those two results of those two decisions, that’s it. You do it or you don’t, you hit the grind or stay lazy, no in between. “Trying” is only something we tell ourselves and others to make us feel better about not doing. It’s so easy to get caught up in life with all the responsibilities we have draining us everyday but no matter how tough or grueling our lives can be we have no excuse to step off the gas pedal. When this picture is painted of what the lazy person’s vineyard looks like, I could really relate. This precious life God gives us to live is not one to be taken lightly because even tho our life doesn’t stop here, there’s so much work to do before we’re there. I especially relate to the part about “a little extra sleep” because if it was up to me I’d always choose that little extra. The problem with being lazy, even though we have a ton of excuses we make as to why we deserve it or need it, our fields become overgrown and out of control. By fields I mean life and by overgrown I’m talking about the decisions, tough circumstances we find ourselves in everyday.
I constantly find myself wondering why I have so many overgrown weeds and thorns in my life, why poverty and scarcity make their homes in many areas of my life? Well when you start adding up all those “little” moments of sleep, laziness, just wasted time, poverty and weeds makes perfect sense. I sit around wanting my situation to be better, wanting to be better, but at the end of the day I’m still sitting and that’s just talk. The craziest part is when you really take some inventory on your days, how you spend your time, how you waste your time, to change how you live your day and spend your time isn’t some big huge leap from where you are to the changed and finished product. To get to that better version of yourself, it’s the little decisions we make everyday and how we decide to make them or focus on what we choose. The problem I’ve had trouble wrapping my mind around is it’s not some big huge change leap all at once, it’s getting up every single day with the focus of, how can I get just 0.01% better today? What little decisions can I make sure to make today so they’ll be easier to make tomorrow and make me stronger in my future? Majority of the time that’s why I’m lazy because having a field that not overgrown with sin and struggle, having better circumstances around me, it seems impossible to change so why try?
That’s the cool part about how God is discussing being rich and poor here. When one is “rich” they are wealthy in God, their relationship with God, knowledge of God, who He is and what He’s capable of, and the wisdom that God gives. Being rich means embracing God’s wisdom, being able to discern where God wants you, what He wants you doing, how to handle certain situations, that’s true Godly Wisdom. Wisdom doesn’t even mean you have to be like Albert Einstein or be able to be smart, it’s just good sense. Having good sense to make those little decisions day in and day out, making more decisions towards seeking God, seeking His wisdom, moving for Him more and being lazy less. Good sense to keep your vineyard of life clean of the weeds and thorns that may hold you up.
I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to be rich so bad and not the money kind! The biggest lesson from these verses was the last part of that story. Where it mentions how poverty and scarcity attack you so fast and so hard, think about that.
If you are living your day to day life in that whatever mindset like, well I’ll just talk to God when I feel like it, learn about Him another day, I can make the wrong decision here because it won’t hurt nobody. I’ve noticed when I become lazy in my life, slack on how much I seek the Lord, it’s like the whole world jumps on top of me and starts pounding me from every direction. Before I can do anything, I’ve already been hit so hard that it’ll take a minute to get back on my feet. The crazy part is when the hits start coming, why they are coming and how we handle it is usually a result of our daily grinding, walking with the Lord or just doing whatever. We start letting our guard down saying “it’s no big deal, whatever, I’m just going to do what I feel like for awhile, who cares,” hits are always coming at us but that’s when we open ourselves up to start taking the hits.
And to think at the end of it all, it’s just continually seeking the Lord, focusing in on the daily grind, using the Godly wisdom and good sense He gives you and applying it to even the littlest moments and decisions in your day. You’ll be surprised after making one little decision at a time, not to be lazy but to keep grinding, those little decisions start adding up and you wanna talk about rich!!!! WHOOO!!! You’re going to like Richie Rich in terms of God’s riches!!! Living and embracing the abundance that comes with having the Creator of everything in your life, that’s living in freedom. Grinding and working for the Kingdom and the King that has given you everything!
2 Corinthians 5:17/ “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
1 Peter 1:3-4/ “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.”
Romans 6:3-7/ “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his, For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
I apologize for using so much scripture but this gold God has given me today is too awesome to just be backed up by one verse. So I’ve had some exciting news lately that’s brought up this thought of “New Life.” My brother, Justin and his wife, Ali have given birth to their second stud dawg, a little fella named Finn! (Pic above) I’ve been really struggling to find words for it but I’m just jacked up to be the uncle to not just one, but now TWO of the coolest dudes I know. After going through this process of new life once with my little buddy Lincoln Cash, it hit me the first time but I guess being a couple of years older this time with Finn hit me a whole lot harder. Once I got to see the chunky little guy I was kind of overwhelmed and I know where babies come from and all that jazz but I was thinking, “he was just in there, now he’s out here.” I guess this little piece of new life and how that’s even possible just got me. God sure is creative working that one together.
The part that was the realest though was seeing this new life that was brought into the world and realizing my role as an uncle. I have two little fellas around me that are going to watch every move I make and act out of my example. Sounds pretty scary to be honest because I’m not all that great. The exciting part though when I kept thinking of new life and how my life has played out, if it was up to me I’d be the worst example not only for Finn and Linc but for everyone around me. Thank God it doesn’t have to be up to me because just life the new life taking place all around me, Jesus has given me new life. From the first day I believed and came to know Him as my personal savior at 22 years old, He renews me everyday. Because of Christ, the death he took for me and raising from the grave, I don’t have to live in what I got or in the old life I fight to keep back everyday. I have died to myself and been resurrected with Christ so now I can live in “great expectation” of what He’s going to do through me to those around me.
I’ve honestly never thought about “new life” at this level before. After reading these verses and learning some eye opening truths from a book I’m reading, it kind of clicked with me. I pray that this makes sense and that you too can see this new life with Christ as awesome as it really is. Whether you already know Christ or not, I pray this helps!
Before I started this journey with Christ I was living in a downward spiral. Chasing everything and anything this world had to offer to give me that peace and joy I was looking for but nothing ever seemed to fill that empty void. Until the Lord opened up my eyes to see that He had been there the whole time carrying me and bringing me closer to His open, loving arms. I lived with the Christian title all through my younger years but my lifestyle was far from Christ-like. When I began to follow Christ and had that personal relationship with Him, it’s been the hardest two years of my life. What??? Yeah I said hardest but it’s also been by far the best years of my life. The hard part has been going from a lifestyle of doing what I wanted, chasing my desires and instead putting all that down to walk in His ways.
What’s made it so hard for me has honestly been my view of the gospel and getting myself out of the way. My life with Christ immediately brought some big changes, took me away from people and places I used to be around, He literally flipped my world upside down. I knew I had new life with Him, I could feel it and see it but believing and living it has been the hardest part of the battle. The more you learn about Christ and grow with Him, the more your eyes are opened to see every single imperfection of your sinful self so everyday is a constant battle to get away from the restraints and sin you’ve carried with you all your life. Since my view has been so wrong I’ve tried and I’ve fought but at the end of the day I’d always come up short, feeling defeated and depressed thinking I’m not good enough.
Here’s where things started clicking, I’ve been trying to do something to live in this freedom Christ gives. It’s not about me or what I do, it’s about what Christ has already done. This whole time I’ve been fighting a battle that’s already been won. I’ve tried everything to get into this new life and push away the old one when Christ has already brought me here. I was trying to earn the love from Jesus that I can never earn. By me being so sinful and deserving of all the punishment God could give, Jesus loved me so much He took all the worlds sin on the cross past, present, and future. Bearing the death we all deserve out of pure love for us. He did that to give us another way, a life of freedom, a NEW LIFE.
I spent so much time trying to figure this life with Christ out and work hard enough to rid myself of sin and my imperfections. I did that so I could feel worthy to stand before God. The truth that has been so big for me is when we have a relationship with Christ we are one with Christ. When Christ died on the cross we died with Him, our old sinful lives gone away. When Christ raised from death, we raised with Him into this new life of freedom and great expectations. I kept labeling myself as a sinner and living defeated but these verses from Romans say “anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” We are dead to sin. Even though we don’t feel dead to sin, look dead to sin, or act dead to sin, God says we are. It doesn’t matter what you think or what anyone else thinks, God, the holiest of holies, the creator of everything, He says we are dead to that old life of sin and defeat.
It’s not who we think we are, basing that off the sins of yesterday, failures we’ve had. It’s not about what the world says you are. Know who you are in Christ! Know what God’s Word says about you! You are a child of God, you are one with the Son of God. God says you are loved by Him no matter what, God says you are free from sin and all the things that make you feel defeated. God says you don’t have to do anything, just have faith in who He is, see this life in His eyes. I’ve walked so many days thinking I wasn’t good enough and the truth is we’re not but with our lives and faith in Christ, God says we are! It’s not about us, it’s all about Christ. Finally seeing what happened on the cross and at the grave in the reality of it, my beliefs and my view of who I am has once again been renewed. It’s a daily process to learn these truths and grow in Christ but don’t make the mistake I made and get so caught up in it all you lose sight of the foundation. Keep the truth of the gospel close, enjoy this new life you have with Christ and embrace the freedom He’s given us. Who does God say you are? That’s all that matters. Believe it and you’ll live in it.
1 Samuel 14:11-23/ So Jonathan and his helper let the Philistines see them. The Philistine guards said, “Look! The Hebrews are coming out of the holes they were hiding in.” 12 The Philistines in the fort shouted to Jonathan and his helper, “Come up here. We’ll teach you a lesson.” Jonathan said to his helper, “Follow me up the hill. The Lord is letting Israel defeat the Philistines.” 13-14 So Jonathan climbed up the hill with his hands and feet, and his helper was right behind him. Jonathan and his helper attacked them. In the first attack, they killed 20 Philistines in an area about one-half acre in size. Jonathan fought the men who attacked from the front. His helper came behind him and killed the men who were only wounded. 15 Great fear spread among the Philistine soldiers—those in the field, in the camp, and at the fort. Even the bravest soldiers were afraid. The ground began to shake, and they were completely overcome with fear. 16 Saul’s guards at Gibeah in the land of Benjamin saw the Philistine soldiers running away in different ways. 17 Saul said to the army with him, “Count the men. I want to know who left camp.” They counted the men. Jonathan and his helper were gone. 18 Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring God’s Holy Box!” (At that time God’s Holy Box was there with the Israelites.)[d] 19 Saul was talking to Ahijah the priest waiting for advice from God. But the noise and confusion in the Philistine camp was growing and growing. Saul was becoming impatient. Finally, he said to Ahijah the priest, “That’s enough. Put your hand down and stop praying.” 20 Saul gathered his army together and went to the battle. The Philistine soldiers were very confused. They were even fighting each other with their swords. 21 There were Hebrews who served the Philistines in the past and who stayed in the Philistine camp. But now these Hebrews joined the Israelites with Saul and Jonathan. 22 All the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard the Philistine soldiers were running away. So these Israelites also joined in the battle and began chasing the Philistines. 23 So the Lord saved the Israelites that day. The battle moved on past Beth Aven. The whole army was with Saul—he now had about 10,000 men. The battle spread to every city in the hill country of Ephraim.
Back in this story today of Jonathan and the faithful action he took in the face of some huge obstacles. This lesson has been so big for me because as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been in a place lately where I know what God is calling me to do but the how and where on what to do next aren’t quite as obvious. I could easily get upset and say, “God why can’t you just open some doors up already, I know you can, why do I have to go through this period of unknown?” I’d be lying if I told you I haven’t had those thoughts but thank the Lord for showing me why I’ve been going through this time in my life because in it it’s brought me closer to Him and taught me so many huge faith building lessons to learn from in future circumstances. I never thought I’d say this but isn’t it awesome how God allows situations in our lives that are way too difficult and uncomfortable for us to handle on our own bring us closer to lean on Him. I may not have all the answers and this situation may have not gone how I would’ve wanted it but the through all the fear, doubt, and failure, it’s easier than ever to see how much better His power and His will is above my own. It may be tough to see it that way when all the circumstances in your life aren’t looking up but the good thing is, those are the circumstances that teaches us to look up.
Jonathan’s example here is perfect for the unknown, scary, and often uncomfortable positions we find ourselves in throughout our life. I look at how Saul was handling things, looking at the situation in the horizontal, basing his confidence and actions off of numbers, resources, and the size of his enemy which brought him to be stagnated in his fear of defeat. He was so scared to lose that he was already losing by staying still. He even had the resources, a priest with an ephod to discern God’s will, 600 Israelite soldiers by his side, but instead he looked at it from his own perspective, put his trust in his own will and operated out of his own power. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve related to Saul’s example. I have all the resources I could ever need, a relationship with Christ, His Holy Spirit living inside me as an aid and guidance, and God’s literal Word to look to. How do we constantly overlook the ONLY resources we need and look at other “resources” like money, things, or ourselves to find the true solution. If we are looking to those other “resources” then it makes sense why we become so afraid and caught up in doubt because only through Him and living in His will can provide the answers and victory we constantly seek after. What’s been the worst part for me during this process is putting everything on horizontal resources and myself instead of the Lord, then the fear that comes with taking steps of action into the uncomfortable and unknown become even scarier. The bad thing about fear is that it brings doubt, insecurities and worries and with all that fear running your actions, it can be paralyzing. Just like with Saul being paralyzed to move at all against the Philistines. Paralyzed to even want to come to God and see what His will is for our situation because we already know we’ll have to face that big giant of the unknown and probably have to face that uncomfortable fear.
Back to Jonathan’s example, he shows us the good news about handling this giant of the unknown. We don’t have to rely on our resources or face it alone, or even be afraid because God is with us. Jonathan didn’t have anywhere close to the resources Saul had and he didn’t have the authority to lead the army against the Philistines but he used the resources that God had given Him and moved with God, out of his faith that God had his back the whole time. He had every reason and excuse to stay still with the rest of the army but he knew that following God’s will above His own was going to take some movement to discern what or how God wanted him to do. He trusted in the power and bigness of God over what himself, and I’m sure he was still afraid but it’s cool seeing all his responses throughout the story are filled with confidence. After seeking and lowering himself under God’s will and power, that’s where his confidence was, in God. He moved faithfully, one step at a time, seeking God’s plan and purpose with each step. When the moment came and God answered him, showed him the open door, since he had already taken one step a time in faith, believing that no matter what happened or how bad his circumstances got God would bring the victory. Saul was scared to move because he was calculating the risk and didn’t have his faith in the Lord of victory so he was already defeated before the battle even happened. Jonathan on the other hand, wasn’t trying to figure it out or waiting on all the stars to align perfectly before he started stepping, he trusted in God and His victory, because of that he had won before he even started fighting. When God finally opened up the door to show him where to go he was already half way through it and didn’t hesitate, he just faithfully stepped.
As you can see the Philistines saw him and his armor-bearer, called him out and that was the sign that God was bringing defeat to the Philistines through Jonathan and his helper. After Jonathan and his armor-bearer started putting work in on the huge army of Philistines, the ground began to shake. God was literally fighting with these two faithful men and when that happened it brought a panic among the Philistines. They had no idea it was their whole army verses two guys. Once again, because Jonathan started taking one step at time in faith even though the odds were far from his favor and he didn’t have a clue how or what God was going to bring victory, God honored their faith and brought victory to all of Israel. I’ve heard it put this way before and it’s a phrase I try to keep close by, “Lord I have no idea what I’m doing but I’m going to show up and I know you’re going to show out.
Looking at Saul when all this craziness starts going down, he was clueless on what to tell his troops to do and finally he started seeking for God’s plan but he was too late because His plan was already taking place. Because he decided to trust in himself and play the odds instead of trusting in God’s victory, when the battle came and victory was there for the taking he wasn’t ready to walk through the door God opened up. Saul was paralyzed in fear and almost cost the nation of Israel because his lack of faith and lack of faith in action.
There’s so many lessons to this story but the main one is all in Jonathan’s example. We don’t have what it takes to start taking steps towards the unknown, fear will paralyze us every time. By simply stepping and trusting that God is with us, fighting for us and most of all always bringing the victory, why be afraid? Why hesitate? Why question it? It may be hard to see what God’s will is sometimes and He doesn’t always make it super easy for us but just know He’s doing that to bring you closer to Him, leaning on Him, and stepping with Him. Sometimes it’s good to step back and wait on God to show you what to do next but a lot of the time moving one step at a time trusting Him and seeking Him, you may fall a few times and go the wrong direction but just remember that He’s stepping with you. He’ll pick you up and put you back on the path He has for you, delivering you in His victory. The unknown may be scary and uncomfortable but trust in who God is and what He’s capable of, only with Him can we walk in confidence and victory into the unknown. “I don’t have a clue what I’m doing Lord but I’m going to show up and I know you’re going to show out.” 1 step at a time. VICTORY STEPPING!!!!!!
“One day Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come on, let’s go over to where the Philistines have their outpost.” But Jonathan did not tell his father what he was doing. Meanwhile, Saul and his 600 men were camped on the outskirts of Gibeah, around the pomegranate tree at Migron. Among Saul’s men was Ahijah the priest, who was wearing the ephod, the priestly vest. Ahijah was the son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub, son of Phinehas, son of Eli, the priest of the Lord who had served at Shiloh. No one realized that Jonathan had left the Israelite camp. To reach the Philistine outpost, Jonathan had to go down between two rocky cliffs that were called Bozez and Seneh. The cliff on the north was in front of Micmash, and the one on the south was in front of Geba. “Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!” “Do what you think is best,” the armor bearer replied. “I’m with you completely, whatever you decide.” “All right, then,” Jonathan told him. “We will cross over and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Stay where you are or we’ll kill you,’ then we will stop and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come on up and fight,’ then we will go up. That will be the Lord’s sign that he will help us defeat them.””
1 Samuel 14:1-10
I usually try not to use a whole bunch of scripture but this story was the perfect example for the experiences I’ve been going through. So lately after the Lord making it pretty obvious on the moves to make in my life, the where to go next part has kept me clueless and honestly stagnate in my faith. It’s been really hard trying to make sure I’m not going ahead of the Lord but also trusting in Him to open doors, knowing He will provide. The biggest problem I’ve had lately is becoming stagnate, sitting still, not moving in my faith. We read so many times in the Word to be patient, trust in the Lords provision and I guess it’s easy to hear that then sit and wait. I’ve been fortunate enough with several different opportunities in the job field and chances to serve that the door was pretty wide open before I even thought about moving. I don’t know if you’ve experienced anything like that, but it’s the same way with anything in life. When you go through high school, you got your mom doing your laundry, meals always provided for you, most of your needs are met by your parents. When you get to college, out in the world on your own, I can tell ya from experience how all those things your parents used to do for you aren’t so easy to learn how to do on your own. Until you have to actually do it yourself, you don’t realize all the blessings that were always given to you. The bad part is, if you sit and wait for all those things like laundry, meals, or dishes to get done like they’ve always been, you’ll learn real quick when the dishes and clothes start stinking from being piled a mile high and always being hungry looking for that next meal, you gotta do it. You have to stop sitting and waiting for a miracle to happen, get up and start figuring it out.
I say that example because it relates to the place I’m currently in. With jobs and opportunities to serve they’ve always kind of been there and I know the Lord is opening up doors as we speak but the biggest lesson I’ve learned lately is I can’t sit around and waste my life expected these things to be handed to me on a silver platter. We’re told to be patient and to trust in the Lord to provide and make a way for us, we’re not called to be stagnate to the point we become useless though. It can be scary, terrifying to the point of feeling paralyzed when we don’t know what to do in life and thank the Lord for showing me this story because it’s a lesson on not letting the fear of the unknown keep you still but to move in faith towards the giant of unknown.
Just like in this story with the way Jonathan goes against King Saul (his father’s) battle plans, he realized that sitting still is pointless and sometimes acting on a situation is a way of being faithful, trusting in the victory and provision the Lord provides. The context surrounding these verses is that the Israelite’s under King Saul are facing off to battle the Philistine army. Both armies are waiting on the other to make a move but so far neither are moving. Since nobody’s making a move both armies are just sitting and waiting until something happens. The Israelite soldiers were becoming tired and hungry, so if they continued to wait, Jonathan knew when they did battle they wouldn’t stand much of a chance.
The funny thing about this is that King Saul is standing there with 600 men, a priest who has all the tools and gadgets at that time to find out what the will of God is for any situation. He’s got everything he needs to go and conquer the Philistines right? Nope he’s still missing one thing, faith. He’s making this decision to stay still off of the numbers of the armies, comparing His resources with the enemies. He didn’t even realize that staying still might be what holds his soldiers back from fighting in the first place since they weren’t getting the food they needed. Saul’s lack of faith causing the Israelites to be stagnated was pushing them closer to defeat and death than the victory the Lord had for them.
Jonathan on the other hand is tired of sitting still because his faith wasn’t in numbers or the amount of resources he had. If it was then him and an armor bearer taking on the Philistine army wouldn’t have even been a thought. His faith was in the Lord, he knew that the Lord is capable of victory no matter what the odds looked like or how big the circumstances were they were facing. The biggest lesson in Jonathan’s action towards sneaking up and attacking the Philistines, was his faith. He wasn’t putting his faith on himself, his resources or anything except for the Lords provision and deliverance.
So many times in my life and I’m sure we all do it, we decide to sit still, be patient and say well “I’ll pray about it.” We say “I’ll pray about it” because we’re scared to take actions into unknown territory especially when the outcome is unknown too, or the chance of defeat is present at all. I’ll be the first to tell ya that I say take that route a lot because it’s easy and comfortable. You can’t lose if you’re not even playing the game. There is times where sitting still and being patient on what the Lord is working together is good but majority of the time, we’ll never even know what the Lord is trying to tell us, show us or teach us if we aren’t willing to trust him enough to take some steps of action. Even if they are little steps. Jonathan could have sat back and made excuses on why not to move all day long, he could’ve said “my dad Saul will figure it out, he always does.”
Throughout Jonathan’s faith in action, it’s not even that he’s being impatient trying to go ahead of the Lord. Words like “perhaps the Lord will help us.” Or when he says we’ll stick our heads out and if they say this then we’ll go back, if not we’ll go forward to fight. He is moving out of faith and staying in the Lords will with each step. He knows the Lord can wipe out the whole Philistine army with less than two men if He wants but to find what the Lord was wanting done, what His will was for the situation, he knew action was the only way. He could’ve very easily let his dirty laundry pile into a mountain and expect his dad to do it but he had faith that even tho that pile of laundry stunk and he didn’t know how to do it. The Lord would provide and show him exactly what to do.
I guess the big lesson for me was not just sitting around waiting on the heavens to open up with all the answers and solutions I could ever ask for but to trust in God’s answers and provision by moving in my trust. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, have many resources and the unknown looks terrifying but it’s only going to get scarier the longer I sit and look at it. The good thing is we don’t have to have all the answers or God’s plan written out exactly. We have Him and we know with Him He always will provide and we’ll always have victory despite anything that happens. It may not be given to us or be really easy to find that door He’s opening up, but how can we walk through the door or get to the door if we don’t start talking steps in faith. Not getting ahead and not just “praying about it” but moving and trusting, faithful action stepping with His will.
I’ve been thinking about dedicating Saturday night/Sunday morning to just a random, surprise day of gold to send out! Since everyone is getting fed and getting their church on, from now on expect everything and anything to be sent out this day of the week! It could be some throwback gold, a song, video, or just a good funny for ya! This is going to be fun! Hope y’all enjoy and have a good Lord’s day resting up for the week!
A couple had two little boys, ages 8 and 10, who were excessively mischievous. The two were always getting into trouble and their parents could be assured that if any mischief occurred in their town their two young sons were in some way involved.
The parents were at their wits end as to what to do about their sons’ behavior. The mother had heard that a clergyman in town had been successful in disciplining children in the past, so she asked her husband if he thought they should send the boys to speak with the clergyman.
The husband said, ‘We might as well. We need to do something before I really lose my temper!’ The clergyman agreed to speak with the boys, but asked to see them individually. The 8 year old went to meet with him first. The clergyman sat the boy down and asked him sternly,’Where is God?’
The boy made no response, so the clergyman repeated the question in an even sterner tone, ‘Where is God?’ Again the boy made no attempt to answer. So the clergyman raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy’s face, ‘WHERE IS GOD?’
At that the boy bolted from the room and ran directly home, slamming himself in the closet. His older brother followed him into the closet and asked what had happened. The younger brother replied, ‘We are in BIG trouble this time. God is missing and they think we did it!!!
Galatians 6:8/ Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
This verse has been sitting on me pretty heavy lately. You’ve probably heard it before, “you reap what you sow.” You’re probably wondering what “Golden Goose” has to do with a truth about farming and I promise I’ll get to that, but first I want to share something that’s been so heavy on my heart. So in my short Christian life through the process of learning more about Christ and growing in faith, it’s been extremely tough to find that balance of how God’s grace and forgiveness works. For the longest time I struggled with thinking that I had to earn His forgiveness and grace so I tried to be perfect. Of course, I fell short every time so when I failed I felt unworthy of Him. Then on the other side of it, once I started to understand that Jesus’ blood covers my sins and by God’s amazing grace and mercy I’m forgiven but then I started to look at my moments of sin as, “well it’s no big deal, I’ll ask God to forgive me after I do this one little sin and the grace of Christ will cover me.” Both sides are completely wrong and both lead to heartache and the wrong idea about what Jesus has done for us and the forgiveness that allows us to stand before God. The balance is so tough because on one end you sin and feel unworthy, weak, like a failure. On the other end, it’s like saying Jesus died on the cross and took my sin so I can sin?? Like I said, this Christian life is such a process and learning the balance of grace has been quite the journey.
So what does this have to do with sowing and reaping, and golden gooses, here it is. I’ve always heard this verse and it’s made sense but not in the terms of Gods grace. If Jesus has already taken care of our sins, why would we care about what we reap and sow? It’s like someone living like hell 6 days out of the week then coming to church on Sunday expected a big ole harvest. That makes no sense but the sad part is I’ve lived like that so much of my life and watched other Christians do the same. What gets me is since Jesus took care of our sins, paid the debt that we couldn’t pay, then there’s nothing really that bad that could happen if we did sin right? Well this verse from Galatians explains it perfectly, when we sow out of pleasing our flesh, whether saved or not, we reap a harvest of destruction. Something I’ve overlooked for so long is the fact that Jesus has taken care of my sins, He’s washed me white as snow but there is still consequences for our actions and decisions we make in this life. Yes if you’re a follower of Christ you have been forgiven, will always be forgiven, you have eternal life, but when you sin and mess up there is still consequences.
I heard it said like this that made a lot of sense, if a guy gets drunk and decides to drive. Then he gets in a wreck that causes him to lose his arm. Will God forgive him? Yes sir! Will he grow that arm back. Nope! Whether we can see the consequences or not from our sin, they are there. The awesome thing about the grace of Christ is when we are forgiven of our sins, His grace allows us to come to Him, seek Him, open our eyes to see where we messed up. His grace is not just forgiving grace, its life transforming grace. Jesus didn’t make the sacrifice He made on the cross so we could make a one-time confession of faith and of our sins then keep living in whatever way pleases us the most, or living like the world around us. When we realize the power of transformation in His grace we realize a lot about our sowing and reaping game. He allows us to see where we need to stop sowing, where we need to put more time into, when we reap a bad harvest how we can learn from our failure and focus on getting better the next crop.
To take it a level deeper on how important sowing good spiritual things allows us to reap good things, eternal life. Had a friend tell me one time “your mind is like a golden goose that lays golden eggs. It’s so priceless, so to make sure you protect your goose and keep receiving those golden eggs. You have to pay attention and protect your goose by constantly putting good stuff in, then your goose will keep producing golden eggs and just like the good stuff goes in, the good stuff goes out.” It’s crazy how much we take fore granted the root of why our harvest is so bad. Our mind. Jesus’ grace is powerful enough to renew our mind daily but a lot of the time we decide to pour in a whole bunch of crap that leads us to living in ways that pleases us, like the world, no golden egg harvest. This made me take a lot of inventory on what I feed myself or what I sow into my mind. Even to the point of looking at what I spend most of my time doing. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Netflix but how many shows on Netflix really pour some good Godly stuff into you? Not that many. How much does watching tv or the news really pour some good positive Godly encouragement into your life? Not too much. The news these days is so negative and I’m not saying to not watch tv or the news cause you gotta know what’s going on. I constantly find myself wondering why my goose isn’t laying golden eggs and my harvest is so negative or filled with bad thoughts, decisions and actions. When I look at what I put in majority of the time, that’s the problem. If we pour in negative, lustful, evil things into us then we gotta expect that’s what’s coming out.
It’s been such a blessing to realize the power of God’s grace and forgiveness, how important it is to focus on my sowing game and protect my golden goose. I constantly ask myself why I sin the way I do or act the way I do, it comes down to how we spend our time, what we’re putting in front of our eyes, what our ears hear, the people we associate with. Our reaping is a product of where and what we spend our time doing. On the other end of grace, this doesn’t mean we have to read our Bible, go through Christian books or devotionals like crazy, because we can’t work ourselves into renewing our minds or changing what our harvest looks like. It’s His grace, the more we trust in Christ and trust in His grace to make us a little bit better each day. When we realize how much He truly loves us and how He so faithfully and constantly fights for us to move from the sin and despair we get so caught up in then we sow out of faith, love for Who He is. Only He can help us sow good Godly things into ourselves and only He can produce a harvest of righteousness that leads to eternal life. Honestly for me to see these truths in how powerful they truly are, I had to see the consequences. I had to get mad at the way I’ve looked at my sin saying it’s no big deal, I’ll still get to heaven and God will forgive me. It’s so much bigger than that. It’s so much bigger than us. Just think about it, the harvest you reap and golden eggs you lay when you live under His powerful grace, focus in on your sowing game, it won’t just change your life. That harvest that Christ produces changes everything and everyone around you. Kind of makes me feel selfish to have already wasted so much time sowing what pleased me instead of what glorifies Christ. Sow God, reap God. Grace of Jesus changes your world then changed the world. Oh yeah and PROTECT THAT GOLDEN GOOSE!!!!