The Parable of Tic and Toc

Once upon a time, in a sleepy little town high up in the mountains of the Alps, lived a Master Clock Maker. One day he created two clocks to work together as one. The first clock said, ‘Tic’, and it told the hour. The second clock said, ‘Toc’, and it told the minute. The two clocks sat together on the shelf and happily said ‘tic toc’ and always correctly told the time.  

One day after the Master Clock Maker had left the shop for his afternoon walk, a suave looking gentleman from the city stepped into the Master Clock Makers store. He looked at Tic and Toc and he laughed. He said, “What was the Master Clock Maker thinking when he made you? Look at you, you aren’t real clocks, you are both only half a clock. Clocks are supposed to say, ‘tic toc’ and tell the complete time, not just the hour or the minutes separately.” Tic and Toc did not know what to say, they had both lived so happily together until now. They hadn’t realized anything was wrong with them. Tic said, “It can’t be true, we have always lived like this and we are both happy doing what the Master Clock Maker created us to do.” The suave gentleman pulled a fancy pocket watch from his pocket and flipped it open. “See here, my clock was made in the city, listen to it, it says tic toc, tic toc, tic toc.”  

Tic and Toc were silent as they listened to the fancy city pocket watch do by it self what they worked together to do. “And see this,” the suave gentleman said, “My watch can tell both the hour and the minute.” Tic and Toc stared, it was true. “Now look around you, every other clock in here is doing the same thing as my pocket watch. You both were pretty stupid not to know you were only half a clock. But say, if you let me, I can fix you up so you will be like all the other clocks.”  

Tic and Toc hurriedly agreed. They were so embarrassed they had spent their entire lives being only half a clock and couldn’t wait until they were each a whole clock. The man opened them up and moved their insides around, removing some of them all together and slipping them inside his pocket. He rearranged their faces and tipping his hat quickly left the store. Tic and Toc eagerly tried out their new insides. “Woof woof, growl,” said Tic. “Meow, hiss,” said Toc.  

Now Tic’s face showed the minutes, but they were three minutes off and Toc’s face showed the hour, but it was off by 5 hours. They continued to bark and growl and meow and hiss, argueing the afternoon away until the Master Clock Maker came back in from his walk. Tic and Toc tried to hide, but it was hard to do sitting on the front shelf to be seen by everyone who came in. They tried to be quiet, but they couldn’t stop barking and growling, and meowing and hissing. They hadn’t realized how horrible they sounded until the Master Clock Maker walked in.  

A sad look crossed his face when he saw his master creation, which had been created unlike any of the other clocks, had been changed by the suave gentleman from the city. He approached them and said, “I can fix you and return you to your original creation.”

‘Tic’ and ‘Toc’ who were now known as ‘Growl’ and ‘Hiss’ by the other clocks in the store said, “No, no thank you, we can fix ourselves.” So they shook themselves mightily and their parts fell onto the shelf they were sitting on. They did their best to put themselves back together but nothing worked. They read ‘How to Build Clocks’ books, but they were missing pieces and all the instructions were for clocks that said, ‘tic and toc’ and told both the time and the minute.  

So Tic and Toc fixed and argued and growled and hissed at each other trying to tell the other how they should work. One day Tic became so angry he pushed Toc off the counter and he fell with a great crash to the floor. Tic was horrified, he called for the Master Clock Maker to come and help. Immediately the Master Clock Maker brought his broom and swept up the pieces. He quietly sat the dust pan on the shelf next to Tic who said, “Oh please, can’t you do something to help him?”

“I can if he wants me to help him.”

“Oh Toc, please say you need help, please.” Toc whispered out a plea for help. The Master Clock Maker pulled out his repair kit and one piece at a time put Toc back together again. When he was finished Toc’s face accurately displayed the minutes and he happily said ‘toc’.  

Tic felt tears run down his face. He wanted to be restored to his original condition and do the work the Master Clock Maker had created him to do too. “Please, please make me ‘tic’ again,” he begged, “I’m so sorry I listened to the suave gentleman from the city.”  The Master Clock Maker gently picked him up, replaced all the needed parts, and set his face to correctly tell the hour. He placed Tic next to Toc and they resumed taking turns saying ‘tic’ and ‘toc’ and displaying the correct time together. They lived happily ever after and were never tempted to want to be like other clocks again.  


How Many Tree’s Have Magical Powers?

A truth worth moving from your head to your heart is this: Your worth is based on the fact that God created you and loves you. Your worth is not based on what others say about you or how others treat you.

Isaiah 44 tells about a man who planted a tree in the forest and the rain fell and it grew. He cut the tree down and used part of it to cook a meal and keep himself warm. The other part of the tree he carved into an idol and expected it to be his god with magical powers.  

We chuckle at the man’s naïveté, but don’t we do the same thing? Let’s substitute relationship expectations instead of expectations for a tree. When we expect to be treated a certain way by someone in order to sustain or increase our self worth then we have set that relationship up as an idol in our lives. Some things we expect from a relationship are realistic, comparable to the tree becoming the wood that cooked the mans food and provided warmth. Those are realistic expectations from a tree. But it is not realistic for the man to expect the idol he carved from the tree to have magical powers. The same is true of our relationships. Our relationships should not be our gods because humans do not have super natural powers.  

The only true source of self worth comes from our Father in heaven who created us. We can not expect super natural powers from our relationships with people. Our human relationships will not fix our insecurities and make us perfect, only a relationship with God, our creator, can heal our insecurities. 

Everyone’s hearts have broken pieces, when we try to put our broken puzzle pieces together with someone else’s broken puzzle pieces it doesn’t work out so well. But since God was the one who created us, he has the power to restore the lost and broken pieces and the ability to put the puzzle of our heart and soul back together.  

Just like tree’s do not have magical powers because someone carved them into the shape of an idol, our relationships do not have magical power to heal our brokenness. Only the God who created us can fix our broken parts.

I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works and that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:14

Free Grace Gift Cards

“But He gives us more grace. Therefore He says, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble…Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.” James 4:6,10 NKJV

God doesn’t go around passing out free grace gift cards to everyone. He offers free grace gift cards to everyone, but we have to accept it from Him. The proud do not want grace. Because grace requires them to be humble. Grace requires them to put self down and stop chasing around the gods of pride. The more gods of pride we collect the harder our hearts become and we want more, more, more. Hardening of the heart is a natural consequence of pride. Gods of pride are made of rock and stone and wood, so naturally the more we collect the more we become like them. On the other hand the more time we spend seeking God, the more we become like the Him and He is the God of humility.  

Think about it….what do you seek after needing more of, wanting more of? Shoes? What kind of god is that? As we bow down to the latest style and color of leather, or pleather, or fabric. We put it on and think we look pretty great…on the outside. But those new shoes we so desired crusted up our heart with just a little bit more pride. It doesn’t have to be shoes, it can be a job promotion, a bigger house, a faster car, a beautiful girlfriend, front row seats at the show, the biggest tv screen or the latest iphone on the day it comes out. It can be an attitude of superiority, a pride of our knowledge, our education, our GPA or IQ. Or pride in the numbers in our bank account. Or maybe we bring the best food to potluck, or have the biggest muscles at the gym, or the fastest time running a marathon. All we do should be done for the glory of God, not for our own personal glory. (1Corinthians 10:31)

God has to resist the prideful heart. It is a natural consequence of choosing death over life. In the terms of infinity, death can not co-exist with life. We live a finite life. Our knowledge is finite. Our pride chooses finite gods. The only way we can join with infinity is to choose an infinite God… and the infinite God is humble. He was not too big or too great, to send His son to die for our sins. It is because of His bigness and greatness that He is able to offer us free grace gift cards. 

 And so it is with us, with every irritation in life, every put down by someone, every time we are cut off in traffic or passed up for a promotion because the boss’s cousins daughter got it instead,…when we serve the God of humility we have the grace to live bigger, greater lives of humility and forgiveness just like He does. We don’t become God, we become like him in the sense that we allow the power received from His free grace gift card to be lived out in our lives. Which is interesting because that is exactly the tidbit of truth the snake twisted as he threw it out to Eve, “you will become like God himself.” But the lie was that if you chose to do your own thing, seeking after your own pleasure, you would become like God himself and that is simply not true because self seeking increases our pride and pride is death because the God of infinity ‘resists a prideful heart’.  

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.’ Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”   James 4:6-10 NIV

Truth, Lies, Rocks and Cookies

During a Wednesday night Bible study exploring the joy of praising God, I said that at times there seem to be no words big enough to praise God.  Who He is, defies description , any words I have are too small to adequately describe the greatness of God.  Someone else in the group suggested we use the names in the Bible for God, for example He is our Rock.

I got to thinking about that.  God is our Rock.  He is also the Truth.  I really do not like it when someone lies to me.  I’m sure you feel the same about being lied to.  The truth is light, while a lie is darkness, so when someone lies it muddies the waters and it is hard to see clearly.  When we believe in God, the Truth, we stand firmly on the Rock. It is only when we choose to believe a lie that we have nothing firm to stand on and we start slipping and falling. 

Take for instance, if when I have a frustrating moment in life, rather than turning to God and allowing Him to give me peace in that moment, I choose to reach for a cookie instead. Cookies will not bring me long term peace because too many cookies and I will gain a few pounds.  Then I reach for another lie.  I tell myself I can get myself out of this mess.  But no amount of dieting, working out at the gym, buying the latest running shoes, etc.  will fill the space I originally tried to fill with cookies.  I want to make a disclaimer, there is nothing wrong with healthy eating, working out and buying new shoes, the only problem with any of them is when we try to use them to fill up the emptiness inside.  This is the lie the devil tells us; Buy more, do more, and you will be happy.  But it is not true.  Only standing on the Rock of Truth will quench our thirst for something more.  I find it interesting that when the Israelites needed water in the desert God provided it from a rock.  Only God, our Rock, can provide us with living water so we will never thirst again.  

The rich young ruler in Luke 18 was seeking something more.  He had plenty of cookies, more than enough shoes, and didn’t need a gym membership because his home gym rivaled anything in town and he didn’t have to share it with anyone.  But he wanted more and couldn’t figure out on his own what that more was.  So he went to see the new teacher in town hoping maybe he had the answer.  The young man asked Jesus, “What do I need to do to obtain eternal life?”  Jesus boiled it down to this profound answer, “Sell everything you have, give it to the poor, and come follow me.” 

Can you imagine the scenes flashing through the rich young rulers mind when Jesus answered his question? He probably looked at Jesus and couldn’t imagine dressing like a poor man. Maybe he remembered times he had made fun of people wearing clothes like that with his friends. If he sold all his stuff and gave it to the poor…well he probably wasn’t even sure they deserved it. Afterall he was rich because God had blessed him. And follow Jesus? He knew what kind of peple followed Jesus. Why some of his disciples were uneducated fisherman and he had been educated by the finest minds in the country. He could just picture the reaction from his friends and relatives if he told them he was selling everything he had to give it to the poor then to top it off he was going to follow this Jesus fellow around the country side. Why he would be the laughing stock for years to come.    

The deepest truth is wrapped up in Jesus  answer to the rich young ruler…Sell all you have, give the money to the poor and come follow me.  We must get rid of anything stopping us from following Jesus.  It wasn’t the young man’s money that stopped him from following Jesus, it was the pride the money created in his heart.  Jesus knew it was the money that created the heavy burden in his heart.  But when presented with the truth he chose not to stand on the rock of truth, causing him instead to stumble over it.  The problem with not accepting Gods truth when he gives it to us, is that if we do not choose to stand on the rock of truth we will trip over it instead. 1 Peter 2:8 says, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall. They stumble because they do not obey God’s word…”

The rich young ruler chose not to follow Jesus, not because he couldn’t give up his money, but because he couldn’t give up his pride.  His money activated his pride and kept it healthy and alive.  He couldn’t give up his own plans for his life.  He insisted on sitting on the throne of his heart and ruling his life…one temporarily sweet delicious cookie at a time.

Moving Out of the Land of Defeat and Despair 

Do you live in the Land of Defeat and Despair? First of all, what country does the land of Defeat and Despair reside in? Is it in heaven? Or hell? I’d say most of the time we are feeling defeated we don’t much feel like we are in a heavenly place. When God sees us in the Land of Defeat and Despair He says, “Pack up your bags we are moving out. No longer will you live there but you will live in the Land of Hope and which is filled with my promises.” The gifts of joy and peace are in the Land of Hope. They grow from the trees there like apples of gold in settings of silver. Joy and peace shine with the pure love of God and when we partake of the fruit of joy and peace our souls will light up with joy and our feet will walk in paths of peace. Our thoughts will overflow with thanksgiving to the One who leads us into all joy. 

God will do all he has promised because his promises are bigger than us. We can not fulfill his promises to us, only He can do it. Truthfully, most of the time we can’t fulfill our own promises to ourselves, remember the last time you said you would give up sugar, or start walking 30 minutes every day?  But God promises to lead us out of the Land of Defeat and Despair and into the Land of Hope and promise. 

We are not to allow our weakness to prevail over Gods strength. We are to overcome all obstacles by Gods power at work in us. “…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…”(2 Corinthians 12:9). One of the dictionary definitions of grace is this; Deliverance from sin. Grace delivers us from sin. Grace is Gods power made perfect in our weakness. When our ‘bestie’ sin comes and knocks on our door we usually run to the door and fling it open, so excited to go out and play with our friend. Usually in the process we trip over the door frame and end up rolling in the mud with our bestie. After a bit, instead of playing fair, our bestie gives us a punch or maybe pulls our hair. All of a sudden playing with our favorite sin isn’t so much fun any more. We call out to God for salvation and he sends Grace to help us. Grace sends sin skedaddling down the road and then Grace lifts us out of the mud, cleans us up, and takes us back inside. The next time our ‘bestie’ sin comes knocking on the door instead of answering the door ourselves all we have to do is send Grace to the door. Grace is full of strength. Graceful ballerinas do not trip and fall. When Grace opens the door she sends sin on it’s way and sin is now the one who trips and falls in it’s hurry to leave. The power of Gods grace is made perfect in our weakness. Grace indeed delivers us from sin and opens the door to salvation.     

God loves you.  He has prepared you for this very moment in time. The time to decide if you will continue to live in the Land of Defeat and Despair or join him on the move to the Land of Hope. On your journey between the Land of Defeat and Despair and the Land of Hope, full of the promises of God, you will have learning experiences, just like the Israelites did on the way from Egypt to Canaan. Their learning experiences are their story, their witness to us of what God did for them. On your journey to the promised land you will experience Gods power and work in your life also and it will be your witness to God….your story to tell of His glory and power at work in your life.  Victory is ours. It has been guaranteed by the blood of Jesus. You are no longer alone, you are united with the power of God. 

Who’s the Monster Hiding Under Your Bed?

The Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians. They wanted a change in their life, they wanted freedom.  In fact God had promised them freedom, but day after day they trudged on as slaves. Then came the day God set them free from their captors. When they marched out of Egypt freedom was theirs. God had given it to them. But they didn’t always choose to use their freedom. Sometimes when they got up in the morning they left it under the bed. Then instead of change being something they wanted and needed they became afraid of the very thing that could set them free.  

When the Israelites were trapped between the Red Sea and their former masters marching to take them back into slavery they couldn’t see any other possibility for their future than certain death. They were trapped with the enemy coming up behind them and the Red Sea before them. Death was eminent and they wanted to go back to their old familiar stomping grounds of slavery. Surely slavery was better than death. Rather than whole heartedly embracing the change God had given to them they had kicked it under their bed and now it resided in the dark and it looked scary.  

When we rely on our own self power to change we have fear because we can not clearly see the future. But if we could only see the change God offers us by the full light of day we would embrace its beauty for God only wants to use change in our lives to bring us into our promised land. The reason most of us fear change is because we imagine crawling under that dark dusty bed with the scary monster himself. There might be spiders under there. Or maybe you have allergies to dust. You can’t see what shape change is so it is easier to continue living as a slave.  

The Israelites grumbled and complained about their situation. Now I can be pretty sure that after spending their whole lives as slaves grumbling and complaining was a daily occurrence for them. The problem is while they were physically free from their previous masters, they still remained in slavery. Slavery for example to grumbling and complaining. Because as long as they were grumbling and complaining they were focused on themselves and how impotent they were rather than focusing on the power of God.

True freedom is found not in living according to our plan, but in giving up our plan and living Gods. But too often just like the Israelites we would rather remain in slavery than die the death to self. But true peace and joy only abides in humility. A humility that dies to self and lives for God. A humility that seeks a power outside our own. A humility that seeks a wisdom outside our own. A humility that is willing to give up grumbling and complaining and be joyful in all situations.  

The problem is we want to hold onto our ‘right’ to grumble and complain. After all if we have been treated unfairly or life hasn’t happened quite like we thought it should, then we want to retain our ‘right’ to grumble and complain. But grumbling and complaining keep us just as enslaved as the Israelites were when in bondage to the Egyptians because grumbling and complaining exalts not God, but us and our idea of how life should be treating us.

Do you really want to live in the promised land of peace and joy? Then ask for humility, because only humility gives us the freedom to live the peace and joy that exists in heaven on this earth.    

Jumping Into the Volcano

I have come to the conclusion that dying to self can be compared to climbing to the top of an active volcano and jumping into the flaming fire and molten lava. First of all it’s hard enough to get to the place of even considering dying to self. Just imagine the climb to the top of an active volcano. Then at the edge of the volcano you have the choice to die to self and jump in. Once you jump, you die, but you become part of something bigger. You are on fire, part of something unstoppable and bigger than yourself.  

But, who wants to die to self in order to become part of something bigger? We all like to consider ourselves the biggest. Pride actuated within our hearts rules us and keeps us smaller and more dead to our potential than if we jumped in the fire and died to self to become a part of something bigger than we are. When we die to self, our life becomes the smoke ascending from the volcano, a holy sacrifice to God and his eternal wisdom.  

It’s our pride that keeps us small, our pride lies to us, it tells us we are big enough on our own without jumping into the fire. It tells us if we jump we give up everything we ever wanted and we will never enjoy the fruits of serving ourselves again. Pride actually keeps us in a tiny little prison too afraid to jump. Too afraid of the uncertainty of being truly alive while actually dead. It doesn’t seem possible so we don’t. Many of us don’t even try to climb the mountain to look in to the top of the volcano and even consider jumping in. There are people who say only the weak believe in God but it is only by the strength of God that we can jump into the midst of the raging volcano.  

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego faced the fire. They had two choices, worship the king of this earth or worship the King of the universe. Basically they could choose to worship the temporal or the eternal. They chose to worship the eternal God of heaven and not only die to self, but face the possibility of physical death as well.  

King Nebuchadnezzar had the same choice. But rather than worship his creator he chose to insist on receiving worship that wasn’t his to receive. When the three Israelites chose to worship the eternal God they opened themselves up to something bigger and more powerful than self. King Neb on the other hand made his world smaller by focusing on his own selfish desires.  

When the Israelites would not bow down to him, King Neb became angry. Anger is a fire inside of us desiring to be fed. His fire demanded the death of those who would not cave to his wishes. In the process of heating the fires of the furnace as hot as they had ever been several of his faithful soldiers died from the heat. Innocent people died because King Neb needed to feed the angry beast within. How many innocent people have been stepped on, pushed aside, ignored, because an inflated self pushed ahead knocking down anything in it’s way?

When the Israelites stepped inside the fire, their world became bigger. The Son of the eternal God himself walked with them and protected them from the fire which had killed several soldier who came too near to it. When King Neb saw the three Israelites still alive and a fourth walking with them, he recognized a power bigger than his own. His own self aggrandized world of power shrank immensely in the presence of the power of God. 

We can jump into the volcano and die to self while becoming a part of something bigger through no effort of our own except the giving up of self. Or we can walk away and next to the volcano pick up some sticks and start our own fire. But no matter how hard we try, no matter how far we run, or how out of breath we are with trying to keep our fire going, it will always be a tiny little self powered fire in danger of being put out by the next rain cloud headed our direction.  

 God’s wisdom and beauty is like a fall day.  There is beauty in death to self.

Never Good Enough

Do you ever feel like you’re never quite good enough? Does it feel like your own or someone else’s expectations for you can’t quite be reached no matter how hard you try? Unattainable expectations are not peaceful so why do we keep trying to attain them? If we are doing God’s will for our life then we will have peace. We know what Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) says, it’s a popular text: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The KJV says God has thoughts of peace towards us.

Peace. Most of us would like to live a more peaceful life. But it seems as if something always comes along to disturb our peace; coworkers, family, random people we don’t know and personal ‘beat myself up’ thoughts as well as worried thoughts. 

When was peace first interrupted? When Satan decided his wisdom was greater than Gods. He wanted to be set free from “the rules”. He wanted to “do his own thing”. He wanted everyone to think he was the greatest. Now think about it for a moment, could this be why we have so little peace? We like to think all the rules don’t apply to us, we want to break free and do our own thing and secretly we want others to think we are the greatest…at least the greatest at something. So we set about living life with unrealistic expectations about how people should treat us. And when it doesn’t happen that way? Our peace is disturbed.  

Let’s go back to never being quite good enough. When I was a kid and the teacher sent home a report card I usually felt pretty good about it. Then my mom would look at it. It didn’t matter if I had all “A’s” I could have done better somehow. Then there were the expectations from my dad, there was just no way I would ever be as good as my sister.  

So we try to live up to others expectations and we try to live up to our expectations. But what about the plans (expectations) God has for us? The same pride Satan had that led to his downfall leads to our downfall as well. We think we don’t have pride because we beat ourselves up over how awful we are. Awful, because we can’t meet our own expectations, but if we truly believe the promises of God, then Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that Gods plans for us will bring us peace. 

God does have a plan for us. And since He has a plan for us He will also make sure we have everything we need to complete that plan. 

God’s plan for us includes hope, but how much hope do we have when we feel like we can never reach the mark?  

Let’s take a look at Moses. God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. In Exodus 4:10-12 Moses told God he couldn’t speak well. And God told him, I will go with you and teach you what to say.  

Who led the Israelites through the desert? If you said Moses, you are right. But who led Moses through the desert? When the people needed food, Moses didn’t pick up the phone and make a call to Pizza Hut. No. God sent them manna to eat every day. When they needed water God provided it. When they needed to cross the Red Sea, Moses didn’t call up his skills as an engineer and build a bridge or try to teach the people how to swim. God sent a mighty wind and created a dry path across the sea and to top it off he destroyed the enemy following them with one mighty swoosh of water.  

Moses did what God called him to do, but God gave him the power to do it. What would it look like if you decided to follow the plans God has for you? He is able to do far more than we can ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20). Moses didn’t know how to get the people across the Red Sea so he asked God. What was impossible for Moses was possible for God. The only way to have God’s peace in our lives is to give up desiring our own will and seeking God’s will first, in all things. We need to humbly give up everything to God. Everything. Not just everything except this one tiny little thing over here, because that one tiny little thing over there is the thing that disrupts your peace the most.  

Peace Wins the Battle

When you look out over the land of sin in your life it probably looks terribly big and undefeatable. You have been contending with those sins your whole life and more than likely given up and given in because it’s what your heart desires to do. Most of the time we enjoy our sin, we think we will give up sin ‘some day’ but not today, today it’s too hard and we are too tired and people are so annoying. And we fear if we kick sin out life won’t be fun any more.  

Instead of perceiving moving forward in the barren land of sin as something to be dreaded, we need to re-think it as the land of victory. God has already overcome sin and therefore as you move forward by his power you can be victorious, not by your power but by His. Look at the story of David and Goliath, a huge giant stood between David and victory, but he believed God would overcome his enemy…our enemies are Gods enemies…and he picked up five stones and by faith received victory.  

I’ve heard it said David picked up five stones because Goliath had four brothers. If that is true then David was so sure of God’s victory he only picked up one stone for each enemy. Don’t you want to live like that? Instead of trembling at the prospect of once again falling in defeat at the feet of temptation and having the life crushed out of us by sin, we need to follow Davids example and prepare for victory. When Goliath crashed to the ground, the Israelite army rejoiced. Can you imagine their fear and trembling as a boy walked across the field with only a sling shot for protection to do the job of a grown man? A job they were too afraid to do? If he lost the fight, they would be servants of the Philistines.  

The land of fear now rejoiced in freedom from the enemy and that is what happens when we rely on God to overcome our sin for us, we pick up our stones, we prepare to resist, our hearts desire victory and we know our God can defeat the enemy for us. We know our God will defeat the enemy for us because He has promised. Just like the Israelites when God defeats the enemy we rejoice in our freedom. 

David’s weapon of choice was his slingshot and with God’s help he slew the enemy.  We need to carry our weapons into the war against sin.  I’m going to suggest to you that we will not get far in our battle against sin without putting on our shoes of peace. (Ephesians 6:15) Have you ever tried walking across gravel without your shoes on? Or maybe just across pavement that has little pieces of this and that on it? It’s frustrating and painful and annoying isn’t it? And isn’t that how life is when you aren’t wearing your shoes of peace? People are annoying, frustrating situations occur, but with Gods peace those people and situations are no longer annoying. So how do you attain this kind of peace? Only humility can give you this kind of peace. Without humility, when something annoying happens to us, we say something like this,”How dare they do that to me?” When you have Gods humility living in you it no longer matters that someone took your place in line or you were cut off in traffic or your husband never replaces the toilet paper roll. Humility allows us to live in the land of peace.  

The five stones we need to pick up and prepare to fight the enemy with are humility, peace, strength, victory and joy.

The first stone we need to pick up when we face the enemy of temptation is humility. Humility admits we are unable to overcome Goliath on our own. Humility will allow God to slay our giants and create a land of peace for us to live in. Peace will give us strength…isn’t it true that in a roomful of chaos it’s the peaceful person who has strength because nothing can ruffle their feathers? They are not out of control because the peace of God is in control of their land. The strength they now possess will give them victory. Victory over the Goliaths in life. Most of our Goliaths really aren’t that big, they are more like the size of a small stone that has gotten in your shoe, but that small stone is incredibly annoying and inconvenient and might as well be the size of a boulder at the irritation it causes us.  

David’s victory over Goliath caused great joy. Joy for David and joy for the rest of the Israelites. When we live in victory over temptation, including the small irritations of life, then not only do we live in joy but it will create joy in those around us also. So humility will give us peace and peace will give us strength and strength will give us victory and victory gives us joy and joy walks hand in hand with peace.

David walked out to face Goliath with humility knowing only God could slay Goliath. No one else would do it because they were relying only on their own strength to kill Goliath and they knew they couldn’t do it. We don’t need to worry about the death of Goliath, the only death we need to be concerned about is our own. Will we die to self and live in the land of peace or will we continue to shrink our land by holding tightly to what we believe we deserve? Do you want to live your life fighting for your place in line and grumbling about how unfair life is or would you rather live in the land where God fights your battles and you enjoy the rewards of His peace and joy? 

Living in the land of peace does not mean Goliath will no longer tempt you, it also does not mean the little rocks won’t get in your shoes and try to annoy you, what it does mean is that the rocks will no longer annoy you and Goliath will no longer have the power to defeat you. 

Truth Wants You Dead

“You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) The truth will make you free! We want to be free. But what do we imagine we will be made free from? The Israelites, when in slavery to the Egyptians, imagined themselves set free from their enemies. Do you have enemies you would like to be set free from? I imagine you do. Maybe your boss or co-workers are annoying. Or maybe your sisters husband is so annoying you can barely tolerate going to family functions. There are no more warm fuzzy Christmas feelings because your brother-in-law stole them all, in fact you are pretty sure he is closely related to the Grinch. Or what about those idiots on the road? The ones that cut you off or fail to use their turn signal? Or the twenty-something single young man who could use some exercise who steals your close parking spot and you’re the one with three kids under the age of five who now needs to drag them into the store from the far end of the parking lot? Or how about all the times you have pulled through a fast food establishment and not gotten what you ordered?

When God led the Israelites out of Egypt they were excited. Truth had set them free. The truth of the prophecy from 400 years before had finally happened. Gods words were true and they rejoiced leaving their enemies behind. The way they saw it the truth had set them free. But they had just begun the journey. God wanted to take them not only further in their physical journey towards the promised land but He also wanted to lead them on a spiritual journey of the heart.

The truth does set you free, but the truth wants you dead.  Dead to self. The truth will set us free from our enemy, but who is our enemy? Not the hateful boss. Not the guy who cuts you off in traffic. Not your brother-in-law. Not the Egyptians. Not the worker at McDonalds. Your real enemy is the devil. It is pointless to become angry at your hateful boss, the guy who cuts you off in traffic, your brother-in-law or the worker at a restaurant. They are not the ones who made you angry. Your anger came from within your own gates. Pride activated your anger and your very own pride caused you to stumble and fall. Truth came to set your heart free. Truth came to shine the light in your heart so you could see the enemy that causes you to stumble comes from within and not from without.

The Israelites thought that once they had been set free from the Egyptians their lives would be perfect living in the land of milk and honey. But they are an example of being set free from their human enemies but still being enslaved to the enemy that lived within their own hearts.

The truth will set you free from self. It will not set you free from annoying people. It is a painful, soul wrenching experience to evict pride. Our pride protects us from reality. Our pride tells us lies we like to believe. It’s my pride that tells me I shouldn’t be cut off in traffic. It’s my pride that says my boss should always be nice to me. It’s my pride that says my fast food order should always be right.

We think if only we were treated as we deserve we would be happy. But I can be pretty sure even kings and queens, who are treated with all kinds of respect, are not always happy. Why? Because true joy does not come from the admiration of our fellow man. True joy is experienced not by seeking our own glory, but by seeking the glory of God.

God’s wisdom and beauty are like a fall day. The leaves fall from the trees and die, but there is a beauty in death to self. The thought of death to self brings a cold chill to the heart like winter. But God will raise up the soul who dies to self believing in Him and His power. The beauty of new life will replace the death and soon the heat of the Holy Spirit will take hold of the heart and the new small plants of spring will bear fruit for Him. The cycle continues, you continue to die to self and God continues to provide new life and fruit.