Whose Armor are you wearing?

There is an incredible story I’m sure you know so well; the story where a shepherd boy faces a giant:

1 Samuel 17

King Saul and the Israelite’s made camp in the Valley of Elah where they stayed on one side of the valley on the hill and the Philistines camped on the opposite side of the valley on that hill.  The lines were drawn and a champion, a scary deep toned giant Philistine, comes forward every day for forty days challenging Israel.  He wants just one of Saul’s men to step forward and fight him to the death and whoever wins, wins for their nation and the loser would be the winning nation’s subjects.  No man had the courage to face him, not a single warrior from Israel.  They listened to his challenge and hoped against hope someone other than themselves would come forward to put their life on the line. Not one of the soldiers had enough courage to try.

Jesse’s sons are there, part of the warriors camped on the hill, and he sends his youngest, David, to check on them.  David gets there and hears the challenge the terrifying Philistine yells.  He begins to question the situation and word gets back to King Saul of what David has said so he sends for David.

David has now been summoned into the King’s presence and he makes his case that he is not just a young inexperienced shepherd boy who doesn’t know how to fight!  No! He serves God and God has saved him from not only the paw of a bear but the paw of a lion and through those battles God trained his young heart how to fight like a warrior, how to be brave and bold in God’s victory and power.

The man who should be stepping up, the man who is experienced in battle, the leader and king of Israel gives David his blessing to go and fight the Philistine.  Saul, a warrior, a manly man, who is a head taller than other men, takes his armor and places it on David, a young man not yet fully grown into his feet or his chest.  I have to think Saul truly had good intentions in this moment to take care of the only brave man standing on Israel’s side, the only one who is willing to face this dangerous threat to Israel.  He wanted David to walk into battle with the best armor available, his armor, because he wanted victory for David, victory for Israel, victory for himself.

Here’s where it gets really good:

This skinny lanky shepherd boy respectfully allows the king to place the armor on him and then he tries to walk around in them; but he couldn’t walk right.  The armor did not fit him.  This young man then does the unthinkable, he turns to the king of Israel in verse 39, “”I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.”  So he took them off.”  He then stands on the armor God had given him, his God identity, a staff, 5 smooth stones in a pouch, and his sling and he goes out to face the giant knowing and trusting that God is with him and that God will fight for him.

He finds victory that day in the armor God designed just for him.

Every day we face the unknown, we face challenges and giants, we face joys and fears, and we face choices.  Sometimes the choices aren’t so easy and life gets confusing.  Every morning we get up and we step into our armor.  We step out into battle.  You know God has designed you with a purpose and has armor that fits only you!  He has wired you in His image and given you an identity in Him!  You are not an accident and the King of Kings has armor that fits you perfectly.  This world is going to offer all different types of armor some will fit a bit, others not at all, and still others might fit for a time but you may grow out of them.  We have to stay close to God, like David who knew God was with him always, and allow Him to put the armor onto us that fits just perfect.  We have to be brave enough to hold tightly to Him and allow His voice to be the only one that matters, the only one we listen to, the only one we allow influence over what armor we wear.

We have a job to do in this world! We have to stand up and run, chasing Jesus, and allow Him to grow us and build us into the warriors He has for us to be.  Our identity should be founded solely in who He says we are!  Let’s take off the armor that doesn’t fit and allow Him the control to place the right armor on us that will allow us to go and love like Christ!



Crossing to the New Year

Joshua was the servant to Moses, he was one of the 12 spies who went into the land of Canaan and only 1 of 2 who believed they should go and possess the land. Joshua dreamed God sized dreams.

December 17, 2017

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

2017 is coming to a close and I find myself battling a deep sadness. As I look to the future and those promises 2018 already holds I find myself tempted to quiver backwards in fear. My head wants to fall and darkness wants to find me huddled in a corner. I have a choice to make.

I love the book of Joshua and the story of a man who was always trying to seek and find God. Joshua was the servant to Moses, he was one of the 12 spies who went into the land of Canaan and only 1 of 2 who believed they should go and possess the land. Joshua dreamed God sized dreams. The Israelites instead pulled back in fear and followed the 10 unbelieving spies. The next 4 decades saw Israel wandering the desert as the original Israelites passed away and Joshua was being prepared to follow in Moses’ footsteps.

Here in Joshua 1 God is giving Joshua his marching orders so to speak. Can you imagine: Moses, your leader, has passed away and now the entire community is being turned over to you! The weight of this had to press on Joshua’s shoulders, there had to be fear knocking on his heart as he faced the promises of his future. There had to be a moment that he was tempted to run and hide. Joshua, a true mighty warrior, was told by God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, to be strong and courageous multiple times while giving him simple instructions that will make Joshua successful.

I picture this remarkable warrior quietly taking in all God has said as he stands next to the Jordan River. The sun is setting and the sounds of the rivers ebb and flow soothes his mind and eases his heart as he faces his future. I see his face wrinkled from a life hard lived in the desert; his eyes softened from meeting with God and longing to walk closer and deeper with Him. I see the stars finding their resting place for the night and the moon settling in as Joshua worships and adores The Creator of the entire universe. Joshua faces his future head on knowing that God is with him wherever he goes.

As we face the crossing of 2017 to 2018 we have a choice to make. Maybe you are like me and you find yourself looking at the promises of 2018 and wanting to run and hide, maybe there is an excitement in your lungs as you take a deep breath and jump head first into 2018, or maybe you have no feelings at all about crossing into yet another new year. Whichever camp you fall into we can learn lessons from Joshua and listening to what God tells this strong warrior.

First, we need to listen to what he calls Joshua, “Strong and Courageous.” God reminds a man who has seen war to be strong and courageous multiple times. We are sons and daughters of the King of Kings who can come against us? Whom shall we fear? We are strong and courageous. We are warriors for God and He placed this identity in us.

Second, The Word needs to be on our lips and we need to have our noses in His book. If Joshua follows this God says He will be prosperous and successful. The more we meet God through His story the more our hearts mold and refine to look like Him. Our tongue is an incredibly powerful tool, James chapter 3: 1-12 tells us how powerful it truly is. Out of the mouth comes the things of our hearts and if our hearts are focused on God and His Word we pour out power for His glory and His Kingdom. Success and prosperity may look different than your knee jerk thought. It will be pure and heavenly. It may be a little backwards from our fleshly thinking. God tends to do things backwards. For example a King born in a barn and lay in a manger.

Lastly, God tells Joshua He will be with Him wherever He goes. There is great comfort in knowing that God is with us always. So those moments we are scared, those moments fear tries to sneak in, those moments that we hold the promises God has promised we can find deep comfort and relief knowing God is holding us close (Psalm 91:4).

So as this New Year, 2018, sneaks its way into our present, watch the stars rise and the sun set with a smile and deep trust in your heart knowing that God is right beside you and you are strong and courageous. As you meditate on His Word and follow Him you will prosper and find heavenly success for the Kingdom.

Blessings as 2017 closes and Merry Christmas!