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Posts Tagged ‘King David’

Evidence confirms: God loves to take ordinary people living ordinary lives and accomplish impossible feats. Examples include:

www-St-Takla-org--Bible-Slides-genesis-240

  • An imprisoned slave, elevated to prime minister in a matter of minutes
  • A village shepherd boy who became the greatest king of his nation
  • A widow who took a stranger into her home, and witnessed miraculous events
  • A common girl, chosen as queen in a foreign land and became the savior of her people

No doubt you recognize these persons. We would never consider them ordinary because of how God used them:

  • Joseph
  • David
  • The widow of Zarephath
  • Esther

But if we visited Joseph in prison before Pharaoh sent for him, if we passed by David watching his father’s sheep, if we ran into the widow of Zarephath at the village well, or if we met Esther in her cousin Mordecai’s home, would we have recognized greatness? Would we have known that these people were extraordinary? I doubt it.

We easily forget that what we see from our human perspective is never the whole picture. Only God has an omniscient view of circumstances and events—including past, present, and future.

Only God has the capability of weaving complex events to accomplish his purposes. And his work is always extraordinary. The wonders of creation offer undeniable proof.

nature-mountin-flowers

And since you are part of God’s wondrous creation, you are extraordinary. Yes, YOU!

That means:

Our seemingly ordinary lives, lived out through ordinary days, can have extraordinary significance, because God Almighty is orchestrating them.

That doesn’t mean we just sit on the sidelines and watch God work. Choices must be made:

  • Joseph chose to honor God in Potiphar’s house (Genesis 39:4), and in prison (v.22), long before his miraculous promotion from slave to prime minister.
  • David chose to spare King Saul twice, even though the king pursued David with the intent to kill David chose to wait for God’s timing for his coronation (1 Samuel 24, 26).
  • The widow of Zarephath (a town not in Israel) surely knew nothing of Elijah or his God when she met him at the town gate. There was no reason to take him in; she had nothing to offer him. As it was, the woman and her son were starving. The land was parched dry by famine. But she chose to believe his assurance that God would supply their needs. And miracles resulted (1 Kings 17:7-24).
  • Esther chose to intercede for her people, even though it may have led to her own death. She saved the Jewish captives in Persia from annihilation (Esther, ch. 4, 5).

Esther-and-the-King

We never know when a decision or choice may directly or indirectly cause significant, extraordinary results.

Therefore, our decisions must be based on scripture-based convictions and values. It is God-influenced choices, day by day, even moment by moment, that will lead us to extraordinary living, accomplishing divine purpose.

But be prepared. We may not know the significance of some of our choices until we reach heaven.

Think of Ruth, who chose to follow her mother-in-law, Naomi, from her home in Moab, back to Naomi’s home in Judah. She also decided to follow Naomi’s instructions and glean barley in Boaz’ field. At the end of the beautiful drama it is revealed that Ruth became the great-grandmother of King David and a descendant of Jesus himself, and a book of the Bible is devoted to her story. What an honor for a woman not even from the house of Israel!

ruth

But Ruth never knew.

Extraordinary people live extraordinary lives when they’re led by God–choice by choice, decision by decision. And they leave the results in his capable hands.

(Art & photo credits:  www.St-talkla.org; http://www.1decision1day.com; http://www.ammiministry.org; http://www.joyfulphpist.wordpress.com.)

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

There’s nothing quite like a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies. The best recipes (and a decent oven!) create a buttery crunch on the outside and a chewy, chocolate-and-walnut infused center.

Of course, every ingredient of the recipe is necessary—not just the chips and nuts. You have to include the flour, butter, eggs, and more. Leave one out, and the results will be hugely disappointing.

Take vanilla extract, for example. A batch of chocolate chip cookies is quite bland without that one teaspoon of flavoring. But have you ever tasted vanilla extract all by itself?  Whew!  It is shockingly strong and bitter.

Now try this idea on for size: Our lives are a bit like chocolate chips cookies!

(Stay with me–the simile will be clear in a moment!)

Just as it takes a variety of ingredients to make delectable cookies, it takes a variety of people and circumstances to make our lives into “the aroma of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15).

Some ingredients, like chips and walnuts, can be enjoyed all on their own. Similarly, God’s recipe for each of us also includes blessings, provided solely for our pleasure—all on their own.

But then there’s that vanilla. So awful by itself; so transforming when combined with the rest of the ingredients.

I see that vanilla as representative of the distasteful and bitter experiences God allows in our lives. Without them, we’d end up as bland and good-for-nothing as vanilla-less chocolate chip cookies.

Every person, every situation God allows into our lives has the potential to make us like Jesus. Even the bitter ones. No, especially the bitter ones. It’s those uncomfortable, challenging relationships and situations that transform us the most. For example:

  • Would Joseph have been as prepared to be second-in-command under Pharaoh—without being sold into slavery or thrown into prison? Probably not. He learned invaluable lessons about organization and leadership while overseeing Potiphar’s household. Those skills only increased while Joseph was incarcerated and given responsibility for all that was done in the prison.
  • Would David the shepherd boy have become the greatest king of Israel? Undoubtedly, his perseverance and faith grew strong as he struggled through fifteen years of waiting—and hiding in caves from Saul.
  • Would Paul’s ministry have been as effective to the persecuted Christians of the first century, if he himself had not been exposed to great suffering?

It’s true. Just a teaspoon of trouble can create great benefit. Trials offer us opportunities for:

  • Growing spiritually and emotionally
  • Ministering to others with understanding and empathy
  • Developing a closer relationship with God
  • Preparing for a God-ordained change-of-direction in life
  • Praising, as God engineers circumstances beyond our dreams

However.

We must be willing participants.

Perhaps our prayer could be based on Ephesians 3:20, a verse often quoted to give us hope for blessing. But this scripture also offers great hope for the good accomplished through difficulty:

“All glory to God,

who is able,

through his mighty power

at work within us,

to accomplish infinitely more

than we might ask or think.”

Just as a bit of acrid vanilla works wonders in the cookie dough,…

God uses the bitter moments to work wonders in our lives.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Heavenly Father, I praise you for your infinite wisdom. You know exactly what to allow into my life to achieve your ultimate purpose. I thank you for the blessings but also for the trials. May I be a willing participant, like Joseph, David, and Paul. And may I become strong and resilient as they were—for your honor and glory. Amen.

(Photo credit:  www.thehealthyfoodblog.wordpress.com.)

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