Don’t Waste Your Spiritual Crisis

Rahn Emmanuel, the former Mayor of Chicago, sent the media world into a conniption fit when he said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Despite the controversial nature of the phrase, the idea was not born in the political world. The Scriptures encourage Christian to not let their crises go to waste. James reports that crises and trials which test our faith can produce “steadfastness” which enriches and purifies our spiritual lives. Conversely, Matthew 13:21 warns that tribulation and persecution cause one to fall away from the faith delivered once for all. Though ever house on the spiritual bluff will be tested by storms, the outcome of those gails can either lead people to spiritual enrichment upon the rock of Jesus Christ or to spiritual death upon the sands of doom.

How do Christians keep their crises from going to waste?

We love the Lord with all our heart soul mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. After spending a deceitful year in the land of Philistia, David’s life comes crashing to a halt. He and his men had been ungraciously removed from their post in the Philistine army. When they return home to console their wounded egos, they find burnt walls and empty rooms. Every woman and child they left behind had been captured. The text reports that “David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep (1 Sam 30).” David is greatly distressed because his family is gone and because his men speak of stoning him. All David has left is God. And to God, David turns. First Samuel 30:6b says, “But David strengthen himself in the Lord his God.” David returns to God. He stops listening to his heart. He stops listening to his men. David returns to the promises of his God In 1 Samuel 23:17, the expression strengthening someone in the Lord is followed, Jonathan saying, ““Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this.” To strengthen their hearts in the Lord, Christians must recall God’s promises of salvation, mercy, love, justice, and grace. They should preach to their hearts telling their weary souls of the wondrous might of their God.

And how do Christians know their hearts have been strengthened?

They ask God what to do. For the first time in more than a year and four months, David consults the Lord about what do to next. And God responds, ordering David to rescue his family and the families of his men. David goes.

Often Christians feel overwhelmed by cancer, financial insecurities, and by troubles at school because they refuse to obey God. They attempt to fix their problems through hard work, determination, and self-centered manipulation. They refuse to obey God and refuse to love others. To make the most of trials, Christians must know and obey the Word of God. There is no other way but to trust and obey.

When Christians love God, they cannot help but love their fellow man. The minute David returns to the God, he begins to love others well. When he meets the sojourning Egyptian slave, David lives out Exodus 22:21 which says, “ ““You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” By following God’s revealed will, David gains helpful intelligence on his enemy’s positions. He and his men sweep down upon the Amalekites, crushing the men who had stolen their families. They defend the defenseless. At the end of the day, David and his men head home with their families, their possessions and the spoils of War. Some of David’s men begin to return to unholy ideas and proclaim that only the men who fought in the battle deserved to profit from the arduous day’s work. David bluntly said, “You shall not do so, my brothers.” Why? David says, “The Lord…He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that come against us.” David shares his wealth because he understands that all wealth, power, and success comes from the Lord. He understands that the man who prays and the missionary who goes are both indispensable to the kingdom of God. David loves both equally. He does not play favorites. He loves his fellow man regardless of whether or not he is a foreigner, in distress, or unproductive in the world’s eyes.

For suffering to be a matter of all joy, we must meet the waves of adversity with the love. Friends, are you ready to make the most of your next crisis?

The Myth of Wasted Time

Christians rightfully lament the hours, days, and years they wasted fighting with a spouse, entertaining fools, and pursuing the wrong career. They naturally assume that squandered time should equated with godless time. But that assumption proofs incorrect when measured against the teachings of the Bible. Though we may walk away from the Lord, God never walks away from his children. If you are trusting in Christ for your salvation, not one year, day, hour, minute, or second of your life has been wasted.

In 1 Samuel 29, David abandons God and lives with the Philistines. The future king of Israel assimilates quickly into his new culture, winning the confidence of the Philistine King and a place in nation’s military command. David comes within two days of fighting against King Saul, the Lord’s anointed. Had David taken the field with the Philistines, he would have lost his ability to lead the nation of Israel for either he would have fought against God’s King or he would have betrayed the trust of his new friends in the middle of the battle. Either way, David would have secured his kingdom by his hand, marring his conscience and the conscience of his soon-to-be kingdom with the shedding of innocent blood (1 Sam 25:30-31). As David stood upon the brink of spiritual and political disaster, the commanders of the Philistines intervene because the Hebrews had a history of stabbing the Philistines in the back (14:21). Moreover, the gentile Lords knew David was not an ordinary Hebrew; he was the giant slayer, the man of whom was tagged on Instagram as the slayer of “#tenthousands.” Despite the king’s plea, the generals win the day. The king tells David, “Go back now and go peaceably, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines (1 Sam 29:7).”

Instead of recognizing the blessing of divine providence, David objects to the Philistines’ request, saying, “But what have I done?”

We know the answer to David’s question. Though the King of the Philistines thought David as pure as an angel, 1 Samuel 28 reveals that David has been less than angelic in his dealings with the Philistines. He has been raiding their allies, murdering their friends, and lying to them about his success, claiming all the spoils came from the Israelites. The Philistines had ample cause to dismiss David.

But David’s hypocrisy aside, his resolve to continue on with the campaign against Saul remains undaunted. He wants to go to war against God’s people and is restrained by a wicked king who commands David to “start early in the morning and depart as soon as you have light” (1 Sam. 29:10b). Because of the Philistines, David would be more than sixty miles removed from the frontlines when King Saul died. David could not be accused of killing Saul or of participating in the king’s death. God used evil, wicked kings to protect David from his sinful foolish heart and from cultural misconceptions.

In short, David’s year and four months in the land of the enemies was not wasted. God used that time to keep David from being actively involved in Saul’s death. God ordained that time to prepare David for his upcoming reign. God was working admits David’s idiocy.

Friends if you are a believer today, God has been working in your life. Those wasted moments of our lives were being woven together by God to get us to our heavenly kingdom. Though we should lament our sins, learn from their consequences, and seek to avoid the Philistia’s in our life with an unquestionable zeal, we do not have to pretend those time of foolishness did not exist. God was moving in our lives then just as much as now. He was sending us bad bosses, unfair judgements, and petty friends because he was preparing us to reign with him in heaven. He was orchestrating our divine homecoming. Though we may not be able to trace the kind hand of providence that appeared in 1 Samuel 29, we know it is still present. We may leave God; but he never leaves us.

The message of 1 Samuel 29, finds beautiful, succinct magnification in the words of Paul in Romans 8:28.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Christian there are no wasted days in God’s divine economy. Do you agree?

Mediums, a King, and Truth From Below: Why The Bible is Enough For Even the Most Spiritual People

desk-topFear overran Saul’s heart. And God was no where to be found. Saul fasted, prayed, talked to prophets, and talked to priest but God refused to talk to him. In a few hours, Saul would have to lead his men into battle against the vaunted Philistine armies, armies he had never defeated. They were also armies that had recently enlisted the services of the future king David. The only man in Saul’s army who had repeatedly defeated the Philistines was preparing to march against Saul. Saul rightfully pulsed with fear.
Desperate to connect with God after exhausting the usual means, Saul reached out to the occult. The text says, “Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.” Saul assumed God had failed to reach the trouble King because God’s methods had become deficient. Therefore, Saul sought God through a new means, he attempted to reach God by asking a women priestess who served the god of the dead to reach out to Samuel for him. Saul attempted to reach God through outlawed means that dishonor God. He swore by God that he will not obey God and put the woman to death.
Increasing numbers moderns and postmodern men and women have followed Saul. They have tried the things of God. They have attended church; they have listened to worship song, and they have read the Scriptures and found God wanting. They have complained that the church has bound the unbound God of the universe into petty human boxes. And they have sought out supra spiritual insights into the divine. They have looked for God within. They have looked for God in sunsets and hiking trips. They have looked for God in their food. They have looked for God in their relationships and sexuality. They have looked for God in tarot cards. They have looked for God in yoga. They have sought out meaningful interactions with the God of the universe through a variety of means that God hates. The God who command the removal the mediums also required to worship him alone according to the patterns laid out in the Bible.

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments (Ex. 20:4-6). 

God never sanctioned nonbiblical explorations for the divine. Men and women have found the God distant and absent from church and the Bible because they have left the Bible. In short, people do not hear from God because God is silent. They do not hear from because they refuse to listen the words that God has already spoken.
In an odd turn of events, Saul reached Samuel. Saul connected with the prophet. Readers can be sure the spirit mentioned in 1 Samuel was Samuel because the text implied that Samuel’s appearance differed from the medium’s usual practices, because they text attributes Samuel’s words to Samuel and because the words attributed to Samuel reflect the word of God. In short, Saul really talked with Samuel. But Saul did not receive the fresh Word from the Lord. Samuel rehearsed what he had already told Saul. Samuel said,

 The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. 18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day (1 Sam 28:17-18). 

Samuel reiterates the prophecy already given to Saul. The Word of God was sufficient for Saul’s life and reign. But he rejected it. He despised God’s Word and consequently the Lord became Saul’s “enemy.” In short, the heart at war with God will welcome the supra spiritual because it has refused to follow revealed will of God. Samuel noted, “For rebellion is as the sin of divination and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry (1 Sam 15:23.”
The man or woman who has found himself or herself far away from God, straining to reach heaven with unanswered prayers does not require a new word from the Lord. He or she does not need to light a candle, to go on a pilgrimage, or to start a new bible study to experience God. He or she should ask, “Have I defied the Words of God; have I rejected what the bible teaches about sex, pride, love, anger, or bitterness and welcome sin into my life; am I at war with God?” To find God afresh, men and women must embrace the already revealed word of God and repent and believer. Even if you manage to reach the God through the supra spiritual, you will only find a restatement of the already revealed will of God.
Do you want to hear from God? Are you ready to obey the Scriptures?