The Difference-Maker

Twice a day for forty days, the stalemate continued. The Philistines’ pride was Goliath, 9½ feet tall. Fully armed and extremely intimidating, Goliath repeatedly dared Israel to put forward a man to fight him. There were no takers.

Except one

When David the young shepherd arrived on the scene, he heard Goliath’s challenge. His reaction was totally different from everyone else’s: “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26).

When David announced he would take on the giant, King Saul was skeptical. David then cited the times he had successfully killed a lion and a bear that attacked his flock. “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (v. 37).

When David went out to face Goliath, he said, “. . . I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel . . . . This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands . . . . that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel . . .“ (vv. 45-46).

In a few moments it was all over. Goliath lay prone on the ground, beheaded.

The Philistines fled, with Israel in hot pursuit.

So what made the difference?

Note in David’s statements quoted above he consistently expresses confidence in God.

To Saul’s army, it was Goliath versus Israel. To David, it was Goliath versus God.

And he knew which had the greater Power by far.

We deal today with the same God David did.

Oh, to believe as David did!

difference-tagged

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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A “Why?” for a “Why?”

How Jesus responded

So often during Jesus’ ministry He had to correct the views of His opponents and even His own disciples. On several occasions when objectors asked, “Why?” Jesus replied with a “Why?” of His own.

When Jesus forgave the paralytic, some thought, “Why does this man speak this way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus replied, “Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts?” (Mark 2:7-8). Jesus proceeded to heal the man, thus proving He did indeed have the authority to forgive.

Another time the Pharisees and scribes challenged Him: “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” Jesus countered, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” (Matthew 15:2-3). Jesus’ enemies were doubly guilty—not only did they unjustly accuse Jesus’ disciples, but they were blind to their own failures.

When Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus, His disciples objected, “Why this waste? For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” Jesus replied, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me” (Matthew 26:8-10).

Learning to see from His perspective

In all three of these cases, those who thought Jesus was wrong turned out to be wrong themselves, whether they were willing to admit it or not. Jesus has the advantage of the divine perspective. His words of truth expose our faulty human reasoning for what it is. His perfect life validates all He taught.

As we get to know Christ better, we so often discover that His heavenly values run counter to our own limited, sin-warped, earth-bound thinking.

Something has to give. Let’s trust our own thinking less, and His more (Proverbs 3:5-6).

After all, shouldn’t He always have the last word?

Why-tagged.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Expanding Our Horizons

Focused seeing

Years ago Reader’s Digest carried an article by a woman whose family decided to make a game of looking for Volkswagen bugs. They were amazed by how many they found.

It’s fascinating the way the mind works. By focusing on certain things in our environment we tend to find them.

If we start counting our blessings, how many will we find?

More than meets the eye

Many blessings are disguised as problems.

Have you gone through a horrible experience, later to view it as a great blessing?

New spiritual vistas open up to us when we view life through the telescopic lens of God’s Word (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

The complainer doesn’t see, nor the discontented, the embittered, the ingrate.

I want to see!!!

Don’t you?

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Nothing to Do?

Limited options

Two university students were talking. One lamented there wasn’t anything to do in our small town.

The other said he had once been a student in a large city where there was so much to do that his grades suffered. He felt it was to his advantage to be in a community like ours, so he could concentrate on his studies.

What one considered a liability, the other viewed as an asset.

A new perspective

The student who realized he’d be tempted to waste his time had come to know himself—and grew wiser from experience.

“. . . be careful how you walk . . . making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

What a difference a new perspective can make!

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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“Do You Not Care?”

In the hour of crisis

As the waves spilled into their boat, the panicky disciples awakened Jesus, fast asleep in the stern. “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38).

On another occasion, Martha was getting super-frustrated as she prepared a meal for Jesus. While Mary was hanging on Jesus’ words, Martha interrupted, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone?” (Luke 10:40).

Have you ever felt like this? How easily our perceptions can be skewed by fear or frustration!

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A better perspective

As we read the rest of the story, we see how Jesus redirected their focus away from the crisis of the moment to a greater appreciation of the One who truly does care.

Is this a lesson we too need to learn?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Keeping it positive

True story. A man walked into a blood bank where he had previously donated. Looking up his record showing his blood type, the receptionist said, “Oh, B-positive!” “I try to be,” he said.

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A reason to be optimistic

If anyone tried to be positive, it was the apostle Paul. In spite of being under house arrest, he wrote what may be his most upbeat letter—what we call Philippians.

How could he be so positive? 1) He could see much good resulting from his suffering, and 2) he anticipated the reward awaiting him.

Sharing Paul’s perspective

When we have what he had, we can say what he said, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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