Monthly Archives: April 2016

Person – what kind will we be? Part V

Young David would have been killed by Saul if God hadn’t provided friends as buffers:  Jonathan, Michal, David himself and Samuel.  As often happens, however, when crisis headed to denouement God proved David’s absolute security.  The passage in I Samuel 19 has lasting principles for us.

One, we need to rid  ourselves of hard feelings against others.  If we don’t, they’ll likely escalate into hatred of others.  Saul represented the person who made his mind a honeycomb, not a sieve, for bad feelings and experiences.

Consider how his suspicions about David turned into animosity towards David.  He at first thought to neutralize his influence by keeping him under supervision at court.  That failed.  He sent him into battle, hoping he’d be killed.  That failed.  He used his daughter to put David in harm’s way.  That failed.  He tried to get Jonathan to kill him.  That failed.  Every failure made him more determined to kill David.  Instead of stopping to think, “Maybe I should re-think my attitude,” he continued to think, “Kill; kill; kill!”

As only the emotionally or mentally unstable can, Saul rationalized his hostility towards David.  But one passion alone drove him, however he justified it:  he virulently despised David and wouldn’t be satisfied till he danced on his grave.

Let’s think about that when we seek reasons to forgive insults or transgressions; or make excuses to harbor, nourish and mature them into grudges.  We can’t be both forgiving and uncharitable.  We can’t both disarm and hide weapons.  Consider that Jesus said we are forgiven AS we forgive Matthew 18:35.

Two, it takes two people to keep the peace when more than one person is involved.  One unhappy, truculent, harsh person out of two is enough to roil smooth waters into turbulent white caps.  David was all for peace, while Saul was obsessed with war against him.  It had to be war because that represented Saul’s aim and his ability to initiate and continue it.  David could only respond by fleeing and hiding.  While he accepted any kind of detente, Saul demanded conflict.  Conflict remained.

Are we like Saul in personal relationships, always finding something to dispute, or an issue to debate?  Or like David, willing to forgive, to rebuild relationships, to try again?  We can be either person.  But which expresses the love of God and the grace of Jesus?

In fact, we may not always find it possible to maintain peace.  For some people thrive on sowing discord.  They find satisfaction in stirring arguments even when accord is easier.  They create friction to irritate even when balm is available.  Such people must be marginalized for the good of the group.

Let God’s people determine, as the apostle wrote in Romans 12:18, to do all we can to keep the peace.  To forget, to forgive, to renew, to love and love and love in Jesus Christ’s name.  – Finis –

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Person – what kind will we be? Part IV

God protected his young king-designate from Saul’s wrath by giving him four friends:  Jonathan, David himself, his wife Michal and the prophet Samuel.  They all contributed to David’s security.  However, in the crisis of Saul’s personal arrival to arrest and kill David God himself intervened—the one insurmountable, fifth friend Saul couldn’t contest, in whom David could rest.

Saul learned that all three detachments sent to arrest David had instead been turned to prophets speaking strange languages.  Not pausing to wonder if his plan had been hasty and wrong, he determined to personally capture his commander.

Gibeah and Ramah being a few miles apart, and Naioth but a quarter of Ramah where Samuel hosted a school of prophets, Saul marched to secure by his presence what his authority hadn’t.  As he marched he worked up a curse on the fates:  “Why does everything happen to me?”; and on his military:  “Damn fools can’t even capture a kid.”

As he stormed north he planned the seizure; march right into Samuel’s presence, clap David in irons and threaten Samuel with worse if he interfered.  On he strode, menace in every step, rage in every breath.

Until, as he approached Ramah and opened his mouth to shout his arrival as King he heard himself prophesying God’s words instead.  The closer he came to the city the louder his shouts of praise to God.  When finally standing before Samuel and the boy he shouted the whole village aware of God’s glory and his submission, even to removing his weapons and robes to undergarments, and ploughing face-down before Samuel, all the while cooing and mumbling and chattering about God’s majesty—which he continued to do all day and into the night.

Instead of hearing people say, “David is in chains,” Saul’s out-of-character behavior surfaced again the question, “Is Saul among the prophets?”  First raised in promise of his sovereignty; now in prediction of David’s coming rule.  – End Part IV –

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Person – what kind will we be? Part III

Young David lived in growing fame and awareness of Saul’s even-greater animosity.  God put four people in David’s life to offer security:  Jonathan, David himself and Michal.  Consider the prophet Samuel as number four.

David fled to Samuel when he realized how odious he had become to Saul.  A very appropriate decision, but fraught with trouble.  While secure with Samuel—and again mis-reading Saul’s intention—David put even Samuel in jeopardy.  As the man who anointed Saul, and had secretly anointed David, and who had already pronounced his personal doom, even Saul could understand the symbolism of David seeking sanctuary with the prophet.

Subject more to fear than faith, David acted emotionally, not rationally.  He felt Samuel’s colossal influence would intimidate Saul.  The king would never threaten a holy man.  (He will make the same mistake later, with potentially fatal results.)

His decision introduces the previously unmentioned fifth person who protected David.  After all mortal help fails, God is our Refuge and Strength.  Which both David and Samuel discovered in the humiliation Saul experienced.

When spies reported David’s flight to the king, he sent troops to arrest him and—implied to Samuel—the same fate if he resisted.  God’s intervention occurred as the soldiers approached the prophet and his charge.  They heard differing languages spoken by Samuel’s student-prophets.  As they stood in Samuel’s presence the troopers also began to speak in languages.  How revolting!  Murderous thugs sent at the king’s behest fell prey to spiritual grace.  Undaunted when receiving the news, Saul sent equally hardened men—with the same result.  A third group went, with equally humiliating results.

Thinking the soldiers lacked his all-consuming focus, and since “if you want something done right, do it yourself”, Saul decided to go and personally capture the boy-king. Off he went, above distraction, beyond human authority, himself the king to destroy the usurper.  Off he went, armed with death.  Then, as he arrived, on he came, shoulders back, spear shaking at Samuel and his prophets, the hated youngster standing among them.  And just as Saul opened his mouth to declare David arrested and clapped in irons….    – End Part III –

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Person – what kind will we be? Part II

Young David lived in danger all the while he enjoyed the privileges of court life.  God protected him from Saul’s wrath through four people.  Jonathan was one.

David himself was the second.  After Jonathan reconciled the king with his young warrior, David returned to court.  He again distinguished himself in battle.  He again sat to play his harp.  Only to find music therapy failing to mollify Saul.  For as he sat in the evening shadows a dark compunction demanded David’s death.  Saul seized his spear and aimed it in anger at David.  Who dodged and saw it quivering from the wall.

Note:  Saul banished the one man who could alleviate the consequences of mental illness.  As the Jews in killing Jesus eliminated the one man who could save the nation from ruin.

However, by returning home David trusted that Saul’s rage would pass and he could return to court when he calmed.  He didn’t understand the unappeased wrath possessing the king.  Which led to Michal, David’s wife, as his third helper.   After the fox left for home, the hound ordered his lackeys to surveille David’s house till morning, then kill him as he exited.

Servants loyal to David informed him, and Michal insisted he leave.  Thus, she became an accomplice of David against her father.  The monstrosity she placed on the bed to confuse Saul’s servants raises a question.  How could Michal live with David and be a polytheist?  And another question:  how could strict-monotheist David tolerate such an abomination in his home?  Perhaps Michal hid it from him.  But could such an infringement of Mosaic regulations be hidden between man and wife?

In turn Michal lied twice to her father.  First, that David was bed-ridden and couldn’t answer the king’s summons.  Second, when her deceit was uncovered, she claimed David threatened her if she didn’t help him escape.   – End part II –

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Person – what kind will we be? Part I

In 1984, adapting Medieval technology, a San Diego diver marketed a suit to protect divers from most shark bites.  It wouldn’t defend a human body from the Great White—which can gulp us whole or drag us off to the depths.  It would offer security against 95% of shark bites.

As I Samuel 19 proves, the young David lived in a shark tank with Saul as the Great White threatening him.  Court-musician, son-in-law of the king and army commander deluxe David might be, but Saul could snatch him anytime, breaking him in twain.

So appearances declared.  But appearances deceived.  In reality, David, like his namesake in Israel, lived within the security net God wove around him.  No probing, biting, gouging or punching by Saul could penetrate David’s secure hold on life.  Until he finished God’s purpose, David had in place four people to save him from harm.

Jonathan was one.  Perhaps David’s growing fame inspired Saul to piece together Samuel’s prediction of his replacement.  If so, he saw in the fabric a new dynasty, not a patched-up version of his own torn, ripped one.

However, by this time Saul had deposited in his mind such a horde of hatred for David that not even withdrawing massive sums from it could decrease the principal, let alone the interest.  His every failure to have his son-in-law killed only increased his obsession with assassination by one means or another:  warfare, his own daughter, Jonathan and himself.  Instead of pondering that he could be wrong, every failure made him that much more intent:  David had to die!

That decision made, and confident he had overawed his son, Saul even included Jonathan in his “need to know” list.  How little he understood his boy.  For he refused the bait Saul strung on the hook and instead hurried the news to David, who agreed to hide in the fields Saul pulled in his line.

Understand now.  By allying himself with David made Jonathan false to his own family.  But it made him true to God.  – End Part I –

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Experts – make mistakes

20 plus years in his craft.  Veteran of search-and-surface divers dead in deep waters.  Welcomed as one of a few divers to explore the dreaded and dangerous underwater caves of New Mexico, Famous as a deep-sea diver.  Expert in teaching the skill to learners and neophytes.  Veteran of off-limits since 1976.

He and his partner approached a passage into a chamber.  The partner swam through.  He was supposed to stay out.  He followed instead. Then the veteran divers found problems compounded by mistakes into catastrophe.  They got separated.  The partner turned the way that led out.  He turned into an unmapped area that led nowhere.  He died trying to escape.  Age 43.  Though a seasoned expert.  San Diego U-T, 4/1/16

Spiritual perspectives.  One, we’re never so skilled we don’t miscalculate; or look when we shouldn’t, or not when we should.  We can go years with no serious mistakes, then suddenly fall, fail, sin egregiously.  King David reigned 20 years before fatefully taking a walk on his roof one late night.  When we think we’re immune to failure we suddenly turn take a wrong turn into trouble.

Two, those New Mexico caves were sealed as being too dangerous for even the best practitioners.  It’s likely they’ll be sealed again, this time for good.  As perhaps the most dangerous in the world, they cost too much to explore.

Spiritual warfare may be as dangerous to Christians as those caves to divers.  Nevertheless, God challenges his people to go where danger exists, threatens and attacks Christ-centered evangelism and pastoral work.  In the first century, God’s children made the moral cesspools of Roman life their target—Ephesus, Rome, Corinth, Antioch, etc.  God left in place all the horrors of heathenism JUST SO he could overrun Satan’s outworks with preaching and abolish his fortresses with one-on-one evangelism. Christians may find places closed to them.  Not because God has forsaken the places.  Not because he fears putting his people there.  And not because he can’t find disciples to go and serve there.  Only because they’re so tenaciously aggressive for Jesus Christ that Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers to keep them OUT!

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Treasure – what many consider (continued)

She kayaked in Oceanside Harbor for 10 years before finding a bottle with a letter inside.  Then, wouldn’t you know it, a few minutes later, found a second bottle with a letter in it.  The messages came from a 10 year old New Zealand student who sealed and sent them bobbing in the spring of 2011.  Thousands of miles later ocean currents escorted the fragile carriers into Oceanside Harbor.  San Diego Union, 10/18/12

Spiritual Perspective.  God sent a message to the world 1500 years before Jesus Christ.  The letter covered human history from the Garden of Eden till that fateful, fear-filled day Moses climbed Mt. Sinai to stand in the thunder and lighting and watch God’s finger cut Ten Words on Two Tablets, front and back.  The Jewish nation, then forming from a rabble of ex-slaves, continue to be governed by those Ten Words.  Christianity, sole heir of Moses and Prophets, began in Bethlehem, Judea, and continues to this day as God’s letter to the world.  His message has hope since it’s about a Love that SO loved he gave his Only Begotten Son.

We don’t have to search for it.  It’s revealed.  We don’t have to seek mysterious, arcane interpretations of it.  The Holy Spirit teaches it to any who want a Bible education.  We don’t have to wonder where we originated, what we’re here for, or where we’re going.  The entire history of humanity is recorded in the 66 books.

Read it and SEE!

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Emergency – one too many

The plane dropped out of the sky in 2000 and landed on I-15 north of Rancho Bernardo, California.  Cars along the freeway saw it in distress and slowed for its landing.  No injuries occurred.  Sixteen years later, April 2, 2016, the same plane—built from a kit—landed on I-15 a mile north of SR76 in Fallbrook, California.

This time the plane landed in the slow lane, skidded 250 feet and rammed into a Nissan Sentra.  The Sentra driver had pulled onto the shoulder to align his Bluetooth with his car.  Several in the car carrying roller derby women were injured.  One, who took the brunt of the hit, died.

The same plane.  A different pilot.  Sixteen years apart.  A fuel problem in 2000 caused the emergency.  No details exist yet what caused the April 2, 2016 emergency.  But it was one emergency too many for the unfortunate victim.

What if’s proliferate.  What if…the Sentra driver hadn’t pulled to the shoulder?  Or the pilot had been able to slow his speed on landing?  Or landed on a nearby model airplane runway?  Or the car would have been 30 seconds earlier or later arriving on the shoulder?  Or….

The classic tragedy of being in the wrong place at the wrong instant!  The unanswerable dilemma more than one has experienced.

But the questions have only begun for the aircraft owner.  Which will take him a long time and a lot of money to answer and resolve.

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Life – miserably inadequate view of

The National Geographic Channel (NGC) premiered the series The Story of God April 3, 2016.  We don’t have NGC, so I rely on the short account in Parade, April 3, 2016, for this blog.

Morgan Freeman serves as front man of the series.  He thinks people believed in a higher power when, at “the beginning of human curiosity….”  Note:  not when we seek the beginning of humanity.  Organic evolution being endemic to the National Geographic, Freeman likely qualifies humanity by those beliefs.

Anyway, when “curiosity” awakened in people, they wanted to KNOW WHY:  mountains exploded; rain fell; earthquakes quivered through the soil.

Freeman suggested that “…the answer for what you don’t know is God, the great unknown.”  Regarding miracles, they interviewed a window washer who fell 47 stories to ground.  His brother, on the same scaffolding when it broke, died.  The survivor had nearly every bone in his body broken—but survived.

By the very definition of a miracle—what cannot be explained or achieved by any human act or power, the fact that the one guy lived means it wasn’t a miracle.  Others have fallen to the ground in unopened parachutes and lived.  The miracle would be the resurrection of his brother from the grave.  Only Jesus Christ can accomplish that.

In addition, Morgan’s personally believes “in life” and in “life everlasting”, but only because life is self-sustaining.  We die; others live.  Death comes; but that doesn’t make us useless.  We die but our body is used by others.  “Everything that feeds, feeds on something that’s dead.”  That’s a silly Hollywood thought.  The seed, which dies, feeds on living, not dead soil.

You can’t expect to get anything Biblical from the NGC.  It’s pure entertainment.  But it isn’t Biblical.  It’s not even close to true.  Truth means you begin with the Creator.  You continue with his prophets.  You conclude with his eternal Son who came as LIFE that couldn’t decay.  Who submitted to death to prove it had no power over him.  Truth always originates in the person of God in Christ. Without that emphasis no truth exists.  It’s all liberal, humanistic, atheistic propaganda.

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Secrets – none are kept from God

Two Jr. High students in Escondido, California passed coded notes to each other in class.  The teacher intercepted one of them.  Not to worry, the boys thought:  their self-developed code prevented any revelation.  Until the teacher opened it, studied it for a few seconds, then read it aloud to the class.  The suddenly-embarrassed boys didn’t know the teacher had been a code-breaker in WWII.  Reminisce Magazine, 3/16, p. 24

Some of us may remember similar embarrassment when what we thought was secret correspondence suddenly wasn’t.  That certainly happens in our high-tech world of secretly-recorded assignations; or revealing selfies; or perverted voyeurs poking cameras into our private space.

We can never hide from God secrets we don’t want even him to know.  He fathoms how we talk and what we mean, even if we disguise our real intention in language hard for others to decipher.  We can be masters of coded double-speak with each other, but forget it when praying to God.  We can take blame for a mistake, go ahead and confess it to him and have it removed.  He knows.  We can hide our pain from others in soft denials, but go ahead and blurt it to God.  He understands.  “Daylight and dark in this agree, Great God; both are alike to thee.”  As is God’s perfect knowledge of what we mean, not merely what we say.  Of our motive, not merely our language.  Of the reality we try to hide in the appearance.  He knows all our secret codes.

He’s kind to the helpless who admit they’re weak; to the uninformed who want education; to the erring who seek forgiveness; to the abandoned and forgotten who want only want to be recognized by HIM.  Come to God, by all means.  Speak freely.  Expose your real self and feelings.  If ashamed, confess it, and leave released.  If lonely, seek his grace.  He grants it.  He lived here too.  We can never bring to Jesus any pain he didn’t experience while  here.

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