Tag Archives: King David

Whom Can God Use? – A Poem

Three weeks into the study of Matthew in Bible Study Fellowship I’ve already learned — or been reminded of — a great truth. God can, and does, use the most unlikely and undeserving people to accomplish His great purposes for mankind. He can use even me and you, whether we believe it or not.

Whom Can God Use?

Whom can God use?
He used Tamar the Hittite
Rahab the prostitute
Ruth the Moabitess
And the Gentile wife of Uriah
to create the line of King David
the ancestors of Messiah

Whom can God use?
He used Pharaoh the hard-hearted
Moses the murderer
Herod the Great, a cruel king
And Joseph the carpenter
to set up and fulfill prophecy
of calling His Son out of Egypt

Whom can God use?
He used Peter the hot-head
Thomas the doubter
Mary Magdalene the prostitute
and Paul the murderous zealot
to spread the Good News
of His mercy and saving grace

Whom can God use?
He used June from Australia
My sister the atheist
New friends in Bible study
And an angel in a dream
to call me out of my exile
from the hell of depression to the Light

Whom can God use?
He can use you
no matter your past
Despite all I’ve done
He can use me
to share His sweet love and light
with a world lost in darkness

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Interesting Sayings

I’ve been thinking about interesting sayings the past week and how we pick them up. Several have come up in conversation with others recently.

One of my favorites my mom used to say. “If I had my druthers . . .” In other words, if I had what I would rather have. I just like that word “druthers” though. I don’t know where this came from, but I’m pretty sure my mom didn’t make it up. She picked it up probably from her mother or it was a popular saying when she was a kid. We don’t always get our druthers, but we think if we just had them (whatever they are) we’d be happy. Of course, that’s not necessarily the case, but we’d like to have our druthers just the same.

Another saying that I remember my mom using was, “It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.” Now, most ordinary things are, though we do sometimes find ourselves in circumstances where a poke in the eye with a sharp stick would seem preferable. I think the point of this saying is that when we complain about minor inconveniences – like having to stand in a long line at the grocery store or enduring the common cold – it’s good to remember that such problems could be worse. I remember one time several years ago I was talking to an Oregon lawyer who happened to have the last name as my mom’s maiden name (which is not a terribly common name). At some point in the conversation he mentioned that he was originally from Michigan, which is where my mom was born. Then as we talked about something many people had been complaining about he said, “Well, it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.” I couldn’t believe it – I just started laughing. I had never heard anyone but my mom use that saying. Must have been a Michigan saying.

Another saying is one that has always reminded me of my dad, and I heard it for the first time in a long time at the Third Day concert last week. At one point in the middle of the concert when the band was in the middle of the center aisle two rows behind me, Mac Powell asked a man if he could use his seat to stand one. The man stood up and Mac climbed up on the chair so everyone could see him. He started to talk, then out of the corner of his eye he noticed how tall the guy who had given up his seat was. Even standing on the chair Mac was barely a head taller than the guy (and Mac Powell is not what I would call short). He turned to the guy and said, “Well you’re a tall drink of water, aren’t you?” I’ve always loved that description of a tall person, as a “tall drink of water.” It conjures up images of someone very tall and slender, like my dad who was 6′ 5″ and 172 lbs. I don’t know the origin of this saying, but I’m pretty sure it’s a Southern thing.

There are other sayings that have their origin in scripture, though I think a lot of people have no idea that they are based in God’s Word. One such saying is, “He saw the handwriting on the wall.” This saying means that a person sees that the end or their demise is near and imminent. This saying has its origin in the story in Daniel 5. In this story God gives King Belshazzar a message written on a wall by a disembodied hand. The message, interpreted by Daniel, is that the king had been weighed in the balance by God and found wanting, and that his kingdom would fall. Soon everything told by the handwriting on the wall came to pass as King Belshazzar lost his throne. He didn’t want to believe it, but it was true. We can often be just as stubborn. We can see “the handwriting on the wall” but don’t want to believe that anything bad will happen. But sometimes it is important to heed the handwriting on the wall and change our ways.

Another saying from scripture is that “money is the root of all evil.” At least that is what most people think the saying is. But in fact, the Biblical verse is “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV). It is not money itself that is the root of evil. Money is just a tool, a means of facilitating trade of good between people. It is the love of money as an end in itself and putting our desire for money ahead of all else – including brother and sister, friend and co-worker, and even God – that is the root of evil.

Finally, one of my favorite Biblical sayings is a reference to King David. We often hear someone say, “he’s a man after my own heart.” This refers to someone who is like-minded and passionate about the same things as the speaker. King David was a man after God’s own heart. He was passionate about the things of God and sought to know God better. In 1 Samuel 13:14, the prophet Samuel told King Saul that God had taken away his throne because of the evil he had done, and that “the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people.” Then in the book of Acts, the writer Luke says, “God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’” Acts 13:22 (NIV). I like this saying because it is a reminder that you don’t have to be perfect to be a believer after God’s own heart. David certainly was not perfect, but he had a burning desire to know God better. When he did stray, he repented of his sin and returned to the Lord.

So in conclusion, if I had my druthers, I’d make sure that I did not succumb to the temptation to let the love of money consume me, and I’d be a woman after God’s own heart. Long ago I saw the handwriting on the wall if I continued in my sinful ways. I know that not only is following God better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, it’s more refreshing than a tall drink of water.

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More Limericks of Dogs and Kings

When I wrote my first limerick yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised by all the positive feedback. I even had a couple of people post limericks in response. 

Then later that evening my little dog inspired another limerick; and then just before bed another came to mind. It’s funny (but not surprising) how things like this come to me in threes. So I thought I’d share these two additional limericks today.

Of Dogs

There was a cute dog who played ball
When chasing he’d give it his all
Then back he would trot
To the ball throwing spot
Whether spring, winter, summer, or fall

* * * * *

Of Kings

There once was a king who loved God
And he danced in a linen ephod
Then scoff did his wife
She envied his life
And his joy she forever thought odd

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The Shepherd – A Poem

The other day I posted a “found poem” that my son wrote for his social studies class. After reading a bit about this form of poetry, I decided I wanted to try writing one. I thought of all the references to sheep and shepherds in the Bible and chose to focus on these references for my found poem. Biblegateway came in handy so that I could easily search and “find” the verses I wanted to include. I thought about including all of the scripture references as footnotes, but decided that would make the post too cluttered.

I’m posting this poem as my Thankful Thursday post because I am thankful that Jesus is our Good Shepherd. I am also thankful for the consistent theme of God as the shepherd of His lost and wandering sheep throughout the Bible.

The Shepherd

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel,
You who lead Joseph like a flock;
You who sit enthroned
between the cherubim.

Like a hunted gazelle, like sheep
without a shepherd,
each will flee to his native land.
Save your people and bless
your inheritance; be their shepherd
and carry them forever.

He had compassion on them,
because they were harassed and helpless,
like sheep without a shepherd.
This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
Woe to the shepherds of Israel
who only take care of themselves!

Should not shepherds take care of the flock?
The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.
“I will place shepherds over them
who will tend them, and they will
no longer be afraid or terrified,
nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.

Then I will give you shepherds
after my own heart, who will lead you
with knowledge and understanding.
They will follow my laws
and be careful to keep my decrees.
And David shepherded them
with integrity of heart;
with skillful hands he led them.

For you were like sheep
going astray, but now
you have returned to the Shepherd
and Overseer of your souls.
And when the Chief Shepherd appears,
you will receive the crown of glory
that will never fade away.

For the Lamb at the center
of the throne will be their shepherd;
He will lead them to springs
of living water. And God
will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
So the LORD’s people will not
be like sheep without a shepherd.

But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.
“I have other sheep that are
not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also.
They too will listen to my voice,
and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

He will stand and shepherd
his flock in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD
his God. And they will live securely,
for then his greatness will reach
to the ends of the earth.

“I am the good shepherd
who lays down his life for the sheep.”
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

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Psalm 21 – Praise to the Lord for Victory

I seem to have used up my creativity in poetry this week and couldn’t think of a clever way to choose a Psalm, so again I’m just going in order of the next Psalm that I’ve never posted before. And that is Psalm 21. This is an awesome Psalm of David in praise for the blessings and victory He has granted to David as King. But it works as a prayer of praise for all believers. As verse 4 says, we have asked the Lord for life, and He has given it to us. Verse 6 reminds us that He has granted “eternal blessings” and that we can rejoice in being able to enjoy His presence in our lives.

Sometimes Psalm passages like verses 8-12 are hard to comprehend, because we don’t like to think of God as being angry and consuming people with fire. But when we remember that God knows the heart of every man and that this fate is reserved for His enemies, those who plot evil, then such passages are easier to understand and even bring comfort as they did to David.

Psalm 21

    For the director of music. A psalm of David.

 1 O LORD, the king rejoices in your strength.
   How great is his joy in the victories you give!
2 You have granted him the desire of his heart
   and have not withheld the request of his lips.
                         Selah

3 You welcomed him with rich blessings
   and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.
4 He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—
   length of days, for ever and ever.
5 Through the victories you gave, his glory is great;
   you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.
6 Surely you have granted him eternal blessings
   and made him glad with the joy of your presence.
7 For the king trusts in the LORD;
   through the unfailing love of the Most High
   he will not be shaken.

 8 Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies;
   your right hand will seize your foes.
9 At the time of your appearing
   you will make them like a fiery furnace.
In his wrath the LORD will swallow them up,
   and his fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
   their posterity from mankind.
11 Though they plot evil against you
   and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed;
12 for you will make them turn their backs
   when you aim at them with drawn bow.

 13 Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength;
   we will sing and praise your might.

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critical spirit, Holy Spirit – A Poem

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the critical spirit that can creep into our thinking about others and even about church. In particular, I have been pondering the presence of a critical spirit in worship services, which is manifested when we view a worship service in terms of what we like and what we want to get out of it, instead of focusing on Christ. As I prayed about it yesterday, asking God to reveal the critical spirit in the hearts of His people (including me) and replace it with His Holy Spirit, the framework for a poem came to me. As I sat down at the computer to write it, this is what I came up with.

critical spirit, Holy Spirit

choir was off key
r
eally prayer should be shorter
i
prefer the good old hymns
t
he sermon was too short, or long
i
couldn’t hear the scripture reading
c
ritical thoughts cloud my perception
a
ll those old hymns are like dirges
l
ove is a distant memory

savior, Jesus
p
rotect Your worship service
i
nhibit those who would do it wrong
r
estore what I know is right
i
desire perfection in church today
t
hat my righteousness would be known

Hallelujah
O
ur God is exalted
L
ove abounds and grace prevails
Y
ou, O Lord, are my focus

Savior, Jesus
P
ierce my heart today
I
nstill an attitude of awe and praise
R
estore a right Spirit in me
I
desire to worship You today
T
hat Your righteousness would be known

The next time you are in worship, remember to keep your focus on Jesus that He might be exalted. There is no right or wrong way to conduct worship services. As long as Jesus is lifted up and the glory of God revealed, as long as the focus of worship is on the Lord and not on the congregants, then the Lord is pleased. Remember, Michal was unhappy when David danced to the Lord in his tunic, but the Lord was pleased. David was called a man after God’s own heart, and Michal was left barren. (2 Samuel 6:16-22).

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”

John 4:19-26 (NIV).

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Love, Humility, and Faith – My Tuesday Three

For My Tuesday Three, I decided to share three of my favorite people from the Bible and why I like them. You may be surprised to find that Jesus is not on this short list, but that is just because He is too obvious. All of the Bible is about Jesus; He is the Word.

My favorite person in the Bible is the apostle John. In his Gospel, John refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7; 21:20). This might seem kind of arrogant, but I don’t think it is arrogance that made John refer to himself this way. I think it was because John understood on a deep level how much Jesus loved him and how much Jesus loved everyone. He truly understood and accepted that love. This is what I love about John.

My second favorite person in the Bible is King David. In Acts, Luke referred to David as “a man after God’s own heart.” (Acts 13:22). It was David’s humility and contrite heart that earned him this description. He was not perfect – he had committed murder and adultery – but he repented of his sin and sought God’s mercy. David was the author of many of my favorite Psalms of praise and confession. He truly understood the proper attitude we should all have towards God. This is what I love about King David.

My third favorite person in the Bible has no name. She is the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ robe because she had faith that this simple touch would heal her from her infirmity. (Matthew 9:20). When she touched Jesus’ cloak she was healed and He knew immediately what had happened. Even though she had been bleeding for 12 years and otherwise had lost all hope, this desperate woman did not confront Jesus and demand that He heal her. She understood that He was the source of all power and healing, and that a mere touch would be enough. This is what I love about this nameless woman. One other thing I love about the story of this woman is that she is not named, and so her need can easily represent the need for spiritual healing that we all have.

These three people represent love, humility, and faith – three characteristics that are important for my Christian walk.

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A Lesson from King Josiah: Older and Wiser

I’m getting back to my Bible-in-a-year schedule. The date on my schedule says it’s October, but I’m pretty sure it’s May. It is May, isn’t it? Anyway, I took a break from this schedule for Lent and followed the Wordstrong reading schedule my whole church was following. But I really have no excuse for being so far behind, except that I get busy and read other things, and well, the next section on the schedule was 2 Chronicles 34 – 35.

I’m not a huge fan of 1 and 2 Chronicles because it seems so repetitive. These two books basically “chronicle” (hence the name) the reigns of the various kings of Israel and Judah. Each chapter starts so-and-so, son of so-and-so, became king of Judah. He was x years old. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord or he did what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord. There seem to be a lot more of the former, but I’ve never actually taken a tally to confirm that.

As I looked at my schedule last week, I thought to myself (and actually said out loud to my husband) “I don’t want to read 2 Chronicles.” And so I read the New Testament passages for that day, which were from Acts. But when I was done with the chapters from Acts I still wasn’t sleepy so I decided I would go ahead and get the 2 Chronicles chapters over with.

Of course, this is where God spoke to me and showed me that there is more to 2 Chronicles than meets the eye.

Chapters 34 and 35 are the story of King Josiah who “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” He became king at the age of eight and right from the beginning he followed in the footsteps of his ancestor King David. When he was older, the scroll of the law was found in the temple. As the scroll was read, Josiah realized the Israelites had not been following it, and “he tore his robes.” This means that he humbled himself before God because he was upset that the Israelites had not been following God’s law. He resolved to change that and to follow God in the way he now knew he should.

What struck me about this is that as he got older, Josiah became wiser. For many years he had done his best to follow God and was even credited with doing what was pleasing to God. But when he learned more about God from the scroll that was found, he used this new information to change his actions and his attitude towards God.

I have been a Christian for quite a few years and, since the time I was baptized and became a believer, I have tried my best to do what was right in God’s eyes. With the information and wisdom that I had at each stage of my life, I followed God. But I am older now and have read much more of His Word; that should mean I am wiser. What was pleasing to God when I was 25 would probably not be pleasing to Him now that I am in my 40′s. I must continually grow in my understanding of His Word and change my actions and attitude towards God when I learn new information that reveals that the actions of my youth were not in accordance with God’s will.

Conversely, when I see young Christians acting in a way or displaying an attitude that I know from God’s Word is not pleasing to Him, I need to be understanding. I need to realize that they are (hopefully) acting in accordance with the knowledge and wisdom that they now have. As they seek to know Him better, their actions and attitudes will change and they will become more like Christ. With gentleness, it is my duty to guide them when led by the Spirit to do so, and to point them to the Word of God and what He has to say on the issue before us. As one who has “heard the words of the Law” as King Josiah did, and grown in my understanding of Christ’s grace and mercy, it is my duty to pass that on to others who are less mature in their faith. As Paul wrote to the Ephesians:

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:11-16 (NIV).

King Josiah shared the words of the scroll that had been found with all of the people (see 2 Chronicles 34:29-31) so that they might be built up as a nation and recommit themselves to the Lord. He was a good king, and his story is worth reading and learning from. In the same way, those who know God’s Word should share it with others so that we might be built up as the body of Christ.

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Psalm 37 – Wait Patiently for the Lord

Today is our last Sunday of Chris Nye’s 4-week series on finding Jesus in the Psalms. The Psalm reading for today is from Psalm 37. I’ve actually written on this Psalm once before in a post called Don’t Fret, but I decided to post the verses that we read in church today for Psalm Sunday anyway. It’s a wonderful Psalm with great advice on how to deal with “the wicked.” And David certainly had his share of wicked people plotting against him, so he should know whether this is sound advice.

Psalm 37

A psalm of David.

 1 Don’t worry about the wicked
      or envy those who do wrong.
 2 For like grass, they soon fade away.
      Like spring flowers, they soon wither.

 3 Trust in the Lord and do good.
      Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
 4 Take delight in the Lord,
      and he will give you your heart’s desires.

 5 Commit everything you do to the Lord.
      Trust him, and he will help you.
 6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
      and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

 7 Be still in the presence of the Lord,
      and wait patiently for him to act.
   Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
      or fret about their wicked schemes.

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Focus on the Inside

This morning one of my fellow bloggers posted a comment with a question about this quote from Friedrich Nietzsche: “The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.” She asked, “Are the Christians the only ones who see the ‘ugly and bad’ side of the world?” I posted an answer to her question in a reply comment, but the more I thought about it I realized this was a question that was worthy of a regular blog post.

The question brought up memories of reading Nietzsche in college. I never like his writing. Something else he wrote is that God did not create man, man created God. He was definitely an atheist, and though I didn’t realize why at the time, his writing always made me feel uneasy. I couldn’t avoid reading it  because I was a political science major and it was required. But no one could make me like it.

I disagree with the quote my friend found. There is no Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad, but rather Christians are resolved to find God holy, good, and merciful. As Christians, we do recognize the sinful nature of mankind, but that is not what makes mankind sinful – or “ugly and bad.” Consider this, if I see the grass as green, that is not what makes it green, even if someone else does not see what color it is at all. There is evil and ugliness in the world. The fact that I and generations of Christians have seen it isn’t what brought it into existence.

I also don’t think Christians are the only ones who see the evil in the world. Even Nietzsche could see that there was something ugly and bad in the world. But Christians are often (though not always) the ones who can see the evil in our own hearts. Non-believers can easily point to others and see their evil and blame the ugly and bad in the world on them. This is essentially what Nietzsche has done in this quote. He saw external ugliness and blamed it on Christians, but never saw the evil in his own heart.

We have no control to change others and are often powerless to do anything about the evil and ugliness outside ourselves. But we can do something about the evil within; we can invite the Holy Spirit to help us overcome the ugly and bad in our own hearts. That is the Christian resolution – to rely on God to help us overcome our own evil.

“God knows people’s hearts.” Acts 15:8a. Only God knows how we have grappled with our own sinful desires and turned to Him for redemption. The prophet Samuel learned this when he thought one of Jesse’s older, taller, stronger sons would be anointed King of Israel.

But 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.

God had David, the youngest and smallest of Jesse’s sons in mind to be king. He saw David as a man after His own heart. Acts 13:22. Though David was not perfect, he consistently saw his own sinfulness and repented. He was able to look within his own heart and see the evil and ugliness therein; he grappled with his sinful desires and turned to God for redemption.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to grasp Nietzsche’s view and blame evil on everyone else. Rather, I want to be like David and confess the ugliness in my own heart, casting my lot on God for redemption and healing. If every person grasped the Christian resolution to not “worry about a speck in my friend’s eye when I have a log in my own” (Matthew 7:3) and sought the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to overcome my own sinful nature, then imagine what a wonderful place the world would be.

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