Great story from 1 Samuel 21. David was under intense pressure, constantly on the run from Saul who wanted to kill him. He arrived at Ahimelech’s house, in need of food and a weapon. It was a desperate situation for David. To David’s surprise, the weapon Ahimelech was keeping at his house was none other than the sword that David had used to chop off the head of the giant, Goliath.
I believe this speaks to the power of testimony. Equipped
I love music and making music. I’ve played guitar since picking up an acoustic in Junior High. Once I gained dexterity and learned a few chords, I began my music ‘career’ playing in a variety of rock bands during the days of my youth. Electric guitar was my thing – I enjoyed plugging into an amp, turning up the distortion and ripping guitar solos, pretending I was in front of a large audience.
As I’ve grown older, my musical tastes have changed. I came across an album eight years ago that impacted me so greatly that I eventually sold all my electric guitars (except one) and converted them to acoustic guitars. The name of the album is “Only” by Tommy Emmanuel.
The album concept is simple. One guy, a few microphones, and an acoustic guitar. No vocals, no other instruments. Beautiful simplicity. I was smitten from the first track, Those Who Wait. The song begins with a simple repeating pattern, building into a breathtaking sequence of chords during the melodic ‘chorus’ portion of the song. It’s music you can actually feel. Other tracks are equally as great. Upon hearing that album, I immediately purchased Tommy’s other albums and researched any other artist I could find in the similar fingerstyle acoustic style.
When I discovered that with some practice I could actually play some of Tommy’s songs and bring them to life on my own instrument, it was all over for me. Today one of the great pleasures of my life is to play melodic fingerstyle songs on acoustic guitar. I can’t wait to ask the Lord where the acoustic guitar section is located in heaven!
I highly recommend Only. Here is a link to the album on Amazon if you are interested: http://www.amazon.com/Only-Tommy-Emmanuel/dp/B0028L3DN0
As part of my morning prayer and devotion time, I typically follow the Lord’s prayer as my guide. My reason for this is because, well, the Lord said, “Pray then like this..” However, I have not fully grasped what I am asking the Lord to do on my behalf when praying “Lead us not into temptation..”
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
Difficulty is reconciling that passage against James 1:13:
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone
What to do with this? I wanted to gain a better understanding. In my research I came across a sermon from well known preacher Charles Spurgeon, who addressed this topic head on. I admit, it’s first time I’ve read Spurgeon. I shouldn’t have waited so long. If this topic interests you, I suggest an investment of 20 minutes to read the full sermon here. To offer a brief (and inadequate) summary, Spurgeon presents the following analogy:
What a world of mercy God gives to us compared with what others receive! I hear sometimes of a Believer who has lost a ship, or a horse, or has sustained a very serious loss with a dishonored bill, or a bad debt—or another of you is out of work for a week, or else your little ones are ill. Well, I pity you all for these trials, but after all, what little trials these are compared with what some endure! Take the case of Job—house and children, land and servants, and cattle—all swept away at a stroke—and his own body covered with boils! Did not the Lord lead him into temptation, and was it not a marvel, indeed, that Job did not go even further than cursing the day of his birth? Was it not a wonder that he did not yield to his wife’s suggestion, and curse God and die? Surely, Brothers and Sisters, when we see the way in which some saints have met bereavement after bereavement—the holy courage with which others have sustained loss after loss—when we have marked the heroic resignation with which some have borne all the “ills which flesh is heir to,” and suffered in head and hand, and passed through painful surgical operations which have well near brought them to the jaws of the grave, we may well wonder how it is that they have been delivered from the evil of so much adversity, and we may with holy trembling, exclaim, “Lead us not into temptation!” How impatient you and I might have been if we had been sorely sick, or bedridden for years. What hard things we might have thought of our God if He had swept all our estate away. How bitterly we might have spoken of His goodness if our husband were in a consumption, or if our wife were in the tomb. Our little ones are round about us, and we hear their happy and cheerful voices, but oh, what a temptation to distrust God it would have been, if He had taken them away! Lord, do not so try us! Send not such adversities upon us as to lead us into temptation; but if You do this, be pleased to hold us up in the rough road, lest we fall into evil!
Martin Luther says, “Temptation is the best school into which the Christian can enter; yet, in itself, apart from the Grace of God, it is so doubly hazardous, that this prayer should be offered every day, ‘Lead us not into temptation,’ or if we must enter into it, ‘Lord, deliver us from evil.’”
I hope this illuminates a deeper understanding of the Lord’s teaching upon this particular portion of His prayer – it did for me.
One of my favorite places to hike in Arizona is near Payson: the Granite Dells. I grew up near this area and spent time exploring when I was younger.
Located a few miles southeast of the center of Payson is an area known locally as the Granite Dells. The Stewart Pocket geological structure lies at the heart of this picturesque site. As a deep, wide ravine stretches for several miles, both north and south of the area; the pocket marks the trailhead for the loop. Stewart Creek drainage is contained within the pocket and the creek is evidently the natural force that created this unique place. This is a great hike for spring, fall or early winter, but may be too hot during the summer months, unless taken early in the morning. The Dells themselves are part of a high ridge directly west of the pocket. They alone are worth the short drive to the area. Steep, rocky buttresses that provide a prominent backdrop to the pocket, they are surrounded by outcroppings of various unusual formations of natural design. These outcroppings jut out and above stands of juniper, pines, firs, and a variety of ground cover common to the Payson area. Elk, deer, wild boar, and many smaller species of animals can be found here.
Here is a map of the area:
John MacArthur recently held a conference in California he called “Strange Fire.” MacArthur is an adherent to the unbiblical cessationist view, and is the most widely known spokesperson for the view. Much has been said in response to his recent conference and book; here are the two I liked best:
If God is sovereign and controls everything, why should I take time to pray to Him? I imagine most Christians have wrestled with this topic. I recently heard a sermon from Bill Johnson who provided a great analogy on the topic:
Let’s say that I own a home, and I decide to rent that home to a family. After I have signed over the home to the renters, I may no longer legally show up at the house and let myself in, even though I technically am the owner of the house. I have given authority to the renters, and they have legal authority to inhabit the home.
God created the earth. He owns this planet. In Genesis 1:28, he says to man:
God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Why does God ask us to pray? Because God has given a measure of authority to man. We exercise authority through prayer. Prayer has the power to cause change to happen and shift situations here on earth, because God has granted us that authority through prayer.
For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. (Eph 6:12 amp)
As members of the Lord’s family (the church) we gain our authority in prayer through the name of Jesus Christ, through his death and resurrection on the cross. His life becomes ours. The same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells within us!
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)
I often ponder the passage above. If the Spirit of the Lord is living in me, I must learn to activate God’s power abiding in me through faith, a pursuit I am chasing!