Tag Archives: David

What would we ask of God?

We’ve all heard jokes about being granted a wish by a genie, but what if God showed up to grant us a request? This actually happened to a guy I know who was very serious about following God.

You can read about it yourself in 1 Kings 3:1-15. That guy was none other than Solomon, son of King David. After David’s death, Solomon became the next King of Israel. After completing the Temple God showed up in a dream to grant Solomon whatever he wanted.

Solomon could have requested anything of God but asked for wisdom to lead the people of Israel. It was a very selfless request and God was very pleased with Solomon.

In fact, God was so pleased that He gave Solomon not only what he asked for but more.

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. ~ 1 Kings 3:10-13

People came from far and wide to learn from Solomon. And he penned thousands of proverbs because he wanted everyone to benefit from what God was teaching him.

But it didn’t last…

As wise as Solomon was, he broke God’s boundaries and married women from other nations. God had not placed this restriction on Israel because He was a racist but because He knew that if they let themselves be influenced by people of other nations they would eventually be led into worshipping false, pagan gods.

As selfless and respectable as Solomon’s request was, I believe his father David made an even better request.

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. ~ Psalm 27:4

Solomon wanted wisdom to serve God well.

David wanted more of God’s presence.

We don’t have to wait for a dream or special visit from God. We are made in His image and exercise a free will. We choose what matters most to us every day by what we give our time, attention and energy to pursuing.

Will we choose the presence of God above everything else today?
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Christianity, Desire, Divine presence, God, intimacy with the Lord, Loving God, Priorities, Relationship with God, The Story, Wisdom

Even good men fall hard

Kelsey is a cute, energetic 10-years-old girl who is part of my wife’s Sunday School class. As they were discussing King David’s sin and repentance they penciled the word God inside a big circle along with a variety of different sins.

They erased the sins to represent God’s forgiveness when we repent and some of the pencil marks remained. That’s when Kelsey made her observation.

The left over marks are the scars of our mistakes. Even though God forgives us there are still consequences that we have to live with and relationships that have to be rebuilt. (My paraphrase)

It was a simple observation wise beyond her years.

David went from shepherd boy to king because he was a man after God’s own heart. The core of his being was in rhythm with the heart of God and all that mattered to God.

Under David’s leadership Israel accomplished many victories on the battlefield and experienced a time of great peace and prosperity. But even good men fall hard. And David was no exception.

David committed adultery, treachery in trying to cover it up and eventually outright murder. How is it that a man who did all these things is still known as a man after God’s own heart?

While David wasn’t perfect, his repentance was genuine.

When King Saul was confronted about his disobedience towards God he made excuses. But David took full ownership of his sins and was sincerely sorry for what he had done.

Sin is almost a taboo subject today even among Christians and churches. We generally dismiss it or down play it or reshape it… in short, we justify.

God hates sin because it not only hurts people but it interferes with our relationships – both with Him and with others. When we walk according to His boundaries we open ourselves to experience life and relationships in a fresh, new way. (See 1 John 1:5-10)

God’s grace is always bigger than our biggest sins. That’s no excuse to knowingly sin, but it means that no matter how many times we stumble we can get back up and once again walk with God. We can be refreshed.

“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” ~ Acts 3:19-20

When we genuinely repent and return to putting God first, as David did, we can be people after God’s own heart.

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If you’re following along in The Story read chapter(s) 13 for this week. If you’re unfamiliar with The Story you can check it out on the page tab above.

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Forgiveness, Grace, Guilt, intimacy with the Lord, Repentance, Sin, The Story

Are we trusting Him above all else?

TRUST – a: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something b: one in which confidence is placed. ~ From Merriam-Webster

When trust is present in a relationship the blessings and benefits are enormous. Conversely, few things bring as much heartache and disappointment as the lack of trust.

God knows both.

Given all that they had been through with God, the nation of Israel should have had no trouble in trusting Him. But they still wanted an earthly leader, a king like all the other nations.

Their first king – Saul – was tall and handsome and strong and flawed! He was almost completely committed to following God’s directives, but almost doesn’t cut it. On more than one occasion he disobeyed God.

So God withdrew His favor from Saul and sent Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint a new king. Of Jesse’s eight sons, David was the youngest and wasn’t even brought in from the pasture when Samuel first arrived.

If Saul was the pick of the litter, David was the runt. From our Lower Story perspective David was not a likely choice to be the next king of Israel, but God saw things differently from His Upper Story perspective.

“…the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” ~ 1 Samuel 16:7

David was just 16 years old when he was anointed to be the king of Israel, but it would be another 14 years before he was installed as king.

David not only had to wait 14 years to be king but spent most of that time avoiding Saul’s attempts to kill him!

Why would God do this to David?

Because God can only use us to accomplish His kingdom purposes to the degree that we trust Him. And waiting on God pushes us to either abandon Him or trust Him more.

“Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” ~ Isaiah 40:31

If you’re struggling through a season of trying to survive and stay alive, take heart. God has not abandoned you but is stretching you to trust Him more.

What kingdom purpose might God accomplish through us as we learn to trust Him above all else?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, God, intimacy with the Lord, Kingdom of God, The Story, Trusting God

Is God Enough?

What is it you’re facing or dealing with that has you feeling like hope is slipping through your fingers like sand from the beach?

Is it keeping you awake at night? Distracting your thoughts during the day?

Remember…

There is not a single need you could possibly have that isn’t addressed by the words of Psalm 23.

Not one.

No matter what inadequacy or hardship you’re facing and how deeply you’re facing it, no matter how problematic or distressful or exacting it may be—if the Lord is your Shepherd, He can meet all of your needs.

The Twenty-third Psalm was David’s way of saying God is more than enough to meet whatever lack or constraint or extremity or impossibility you might ever encounter. ~ Excerpted from God Is More Than Enough by Tony Evans

Don’t rush through Psalm 23. Slow down. Take a few deep breaths. Calm your spirit. Take a few moments to remember that God is God. He is our Creator. He is Lord over all of life. And He is fully aware of everything that troubles your heart.

Now read Psalm 23 slowly, letting the words soak into you like water into a sponge on a hot summer day. Then take a deep breath and read it again.

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
2
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.    
3
He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

***

What aspect of God as our Shepherd is most meaningful to you?

Click here to read an excerpt from God Is More Than Enough
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Encouragement, Faith, Fear, God, Grace, Hope, intimacy with the Lord, Peace, Trusting God

Just keep at it!

Curt was a year ahead of me in high school. Both in and out of the weight room he encouraged me with working out. During one lapse Curt checked on me and I told him that my schedule kept me from being consistent so I figured it wasn’t worth the effort because it wouldn’t do me any good.

Curt expressed that he faced the same issue but that the key was to just keep at it. Since he was a standout in several sports and went on to attend Notre Dame University on a wrestling scholarship – no small accomplishment – his advice carried some weight (pun intended).

That’s always been a struggle for me. If I can’t do something the way I draw it up in my head then why bother?!

Last week Susan and I decided to eat better and exercise at a local gym. Long story short… it didn’t go as planned. Schedules got interrupted and I had a few lapses in eating better.

Even though the week was bumpy, it still yielded some benefits. No matter what your pursuing, the key really is to just keep at it!

This is especially true in our journey with God!

We extol the virtues of Biblical characters like Moses, David, Ruth and Paul because of their excellent examples, but we tend to ignore the frequency with which those same people totally screwed up! Take Abraham for example.

Abraham followed God to begin a new nation and faithfully offered his son on the altar when told to do so; but he twice lied about Sarah being his wife in order to protect his own skin and slept with Sarah’s servant when God’s promise of a son didn’t come fast enough!

Notice how God responds to Abraham. He didn’t toss him aside and start over with someone else. God lovingly and patiently worked with Abraham and used him to carry out His bigger plan.

We’ve been invited to share in God’s Upper Story plan to reach every man, woman and child with the good news of His grace and truth. The advancement of God’s plans, and our participation in them, are not driven by our perfect efforts but by His limitless grace!

Trust in His grace and just keep at it!

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If you’re reading along in The Story with us then read chapter(s) 3 this week! If you’re unfamiliar with The Story you can check it out on the page tab above.

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Filed under Determination, God, Grace, The Story, Trusting God

More than just a change in scenery

Last week Susan and I enjoyed the sunshine and warmth of Florida. Eli, our oldest, is starting an 8-month internship with Disney World near Orlando so I took Monday and Tuesday to ride down with him. Our time together was great!

We arrived Tuesday afternoon just ahead of Susan’s flight. Eli was busy with getting settled in but had enough space for us to enjoy some activities in the area together before Susan and I flew back on Saturday.

Besides the sunshine and warmth, the real treat was the change of pace and chance to relax. Susan and I had time to step away from the busy routine and reflect on different aspects of life; things that get lost in hectic daily activities.

Do you know which of the Ten Commandments is given the most amount of space in Scripture? The most attention?

Keeping the Sabbath!

It’s not about a certain day of the week, but the rhythm of pausing from the regular routine long enough to give our relationship with God some serious attention.

At it’s core, Sabbath is a reminder that God is God and we are not!

Most of us would quickly acknowledge that we are not God, but we tend to live as if we are – as if it all depends on us. We worry, we fret, we pace, we lose sleep at night… and we always think we know how things should be handled!

Few of us can spend part of every week in Florida but we can all carve out space daily, weekly and monthly to stop and spend time with God, letting Him remind us that He is in charge and has everything under control.

The Sabbath was put in place by God because He knew how easily we slide behind the steering wheel and try to take charge. Perhaps that’s one reason God inspired David to write in Psalm 46:10…

Be still and know that I am God.

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Filed under intimacy with the Lord, Margin, Reflection, Rest, Trusting God