Tag Archives: Scripture

How do we increase our faith?

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(Old Testament trash talk)

You know when God teaches you something in his Word and you just want to share it? This is one of those posts because it’s my blog and I can do what I want to.

I’ve been reading 1 Samuel lately because it’s one of my favorite books of the Bible because, well, David. I can’t help but love the guy. Anyway, I get to the story of David and Goliath and God showed me something in that story that I never knew. Don’t you love when God does that? He takes a story you’ve heard since childhood and makes you see it in a completely new way.

I always assumed David was afraid, even though I knew he volunteered to fight Goliath. Like he was shaking in his sandals and no armor, but God gave him the courage to slay the giant. After reading the text, I’m not so sure that was the case.

“When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.” 1 Sam. 17:48 ESV (emphasis mine)

He RAN QUICKLY. Basically he sprinted to meet Goliath, A GIANT, at the battle line. Scared people don’t sprint to meet their enemies. People who are fearful enter into battle carefully, with a well thought out plan. They may have summoned the courage to fight but they’re still sweating bullets when they enter onto the battlefield. No one shows up for a fight with a slingshot and a few little rocks and no armor to fight his opponent who is fully armed.

No one but David.

Was he just young and naïve? Rebel without a cause? Was he a teenager that thought he was going to live forever? Nope.

He was certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that God would deliver the people of Israel. He was betting his very life on it. See, we have to back up a little in the story to understand why David would have such confidence. Earlier in the passage, Saul is trying to talk David out of fighting Goliath, reminding him he’s just a boy and Goliath is a man trained for war.

“But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” (1 Sam. 17:34-37 ESV)

Oh, I’m sorry, did it say LIONS and BEARS? When hearing this story as a child I’m envisioning cartoon lions and bears. Like Simba and Baloo. It didn’t even seem real at the time. As an adult, if you told me my teenage son would be fighting off lions and bears to protect our families’ sheep, I would have a heart attack. Literally. I would also tell him to go ahead and say goodbye to sweet lamby because his mama ain’t gonna let him fight no wild animal. What kind of person fights lions and bears to save one little lamb? The person who has something to protect and, in this case, a person who knows he cannot lose.

David goes on to say:

“The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Sam. 17:37)

Whoop there it is. David remembered.

How did David know God would help him defeat Goliath? Because He had done it before against lions and bears. David remembered God’s faithfulness to him in the past, which gave David faith for the present. David was certain of God’s faithfulness to him. He knew he was beloved by the Father and that the Father would protect him and deliver the people of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. Oh to have that kind of faith! The kind that assures me that I can do the hard, scary things and God will show up. He always shows up for His kids.

Want to increase your faith? Remember a time when God has been faithful to you. Recall a time He came to your rescue. God is always faithful even when we are not. We are his beloved sheep that He gave His own Son’s life to save…before we even knew him.

We would do well to face our giants like David.

RUN QUICKLY to the battle line.

REMEMBER God’s past faithfulness.

BE CERTAIN of victory.

This is how we face our fears. This is how we move mountains. We may not win the battle every time. We may very well crash and burn. This doesn’t mean God didn’t show up. It just means He has other plans. There is much to learn when we feel we’ve been defeated and we take that with us as we go into our next battle. My internal victories are far more significant than my outward successes by a long shot. I think when God spoke of the “work He has planned for us” (Eph. 2:10), much of it was on ourselves, in our hearts. And rest easy, God has already slain the enemy. Victory is oursWhat’s the mountain facing you?

-Courtney

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She Reads Truth

When I asked for comments on what kind of topics you sweet readers wanted me to write about, one of the responses was about bible studies I like. The one I’m doing right now is my favorite, hands down. It’s from the lovely people at She Reads Truth. It’s called Women in the Word. They put it out this summer and I’m still enjoying it. (Read: Summer was crazy and I didn’t get to my bible study every day.) My favorite thing about this bible study may not appeal to everyone. I got the workbook and it is basically passages of Scripture and space for your response. With many devotionals I’ve read before they give a little Scripture then a little synopsis of the Scripture or a story that relates back to the Scripture. These are all fine and good and definitely have their place. Too often the problem for me is I tend to read the verses then someone else’s thoughts about the verses then close the book and move on. I rarely sit and think about what God might be saying to me through His Word. This book gives me the space to do just that.

It has been amazing what God has taught me about the women of the Bible. With this study, I work through the words and pray through my thoughts to get to the meat of what the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to me. And let me tell you, it’s been eye opening. God raised women up to positions of power in a culture where the value of a woman was dependent on how many children she could have. People tend to think that men are the heroes but what I’m learning is that women held great power over those said heroes. I mean, other than Jesus. He stood alone. No one held power over Him. Just to be clear.

When I read stories from the Old Testament, it’s clear that women are vital to men’s decision making. Good and bad decisions. Sarah told Abram to sleep with her maidservant Hagar because they wanted a child and he did. Bad decision. Delilah manipulated Sampson into telling her where is strength came from. Bad decision. Hannah, after getting pregnant with Samuel, convinced her husband, Elkanah, they should dedicate Samuel to the Lord and let him serve under Eli the priest. Good decision. Abigail protected her servants from David and took the blame for her husband, Nabal’s, bad behavior towards David. God struck Nabal dead and David took Abigail to be his wife because he was enamored by her beauty and discretion. Good decision.

As I read through His Word, He’s showing me how important women are to Him. Over and over when speaking of women the Bible says things like: He heard their prayer, paid attention to their need, He listened to them, He dealt well with them. In a culture where bearing children was their main job, God listened them and saw them. He had relationship with them. He valued them. By reading God’s Word without any other person’s voice in my ear it has helped me see and hear more of who God is. His Scripture is enough to teach us about who He is. Commentaries are wonderful. Hearing what others think is great in challenging our own way of thinking. But let’s not miss what the plain words of Scriptures say. God’s voice alone has a whole lot to teach us if we’ll just read it and listen to it and pray for discernment of it. We have so much to gain from reading the Word of God. This bible study has taught me much in the importance of that truth.

If you want to take a look at their stuff, here’s your linky-loo:  www.shereadstruth.com

They also have an app called She Reads Truth for women and just recently they launched an app for men called, wait for it…He Reads Truth. The format of the app is Scripture and a devotional written by the amazing people that work there. The app is awesome because you can read it whenever you have time since it’s right there on your phone. They have all kinds of studies and plans available. Some are free and some cost maybe $1.99. I think all the plans are a week or more worth of devotionals. I can’t recommend them highly enough. Go download it! Or if you want to do a workbook go to the website and order one. You won’t regret it!

-Courtney

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