Who would've ever guessed it? Out of the blue came this nobody. He had spent his youth working for his dad in the quiet, rugged outdoors. Now, suddenly, he was the most famous man in the country. But he couldn't wait to retreat to the hills where life was simple and uncluttered.
That first night back under the stars must have been a restless one as he recalled the frightening scene of battle . . . the intimidating sound of the giant's voice as it echoed across the chasm . . . the feel of those five smooth stones . . . the deadening thud as rock struck forehead . . . the shout of triumph . . . the admiring look of dismay from the tall Israelite king. Now, silence.
Little did the lad know that God would lead him to more valleys—deeper than he could have dreamed possible. The events that followed the giant killing defied logic.
Even though David conducted himself with humility, loyalty, and grace, the man whose face—and life!—he had saved turned against him. Displeased by the boy's popularity, insecure over his own eclipsed public image, King Saul became a savage, driven mad by suspicion and jealousy.
In spite of this tragic twist in their relationship, David prospered. Three times in the biographical account we read that fact (1 Sam. 18:5, 14, 15). In addition, "he behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul" (18:30). This led to growing popularity, increased favor in the eyes of Saul's inner circle, military victories, and enormous praise from the public. David found himself sandwiched between public applause and private horror.
It is easy to forget that two magnificent, lasting benefits were born out of that womb of woe: first, the deepening of much of David's character; and second, the composing of many of David's psalms. The traits we remember and admire as being worthy of emulation were shaped, honed, and polished while he lived like a fugitive in the wilderness, and the psalms we turn to most often emerged from a broken heart.
Where are you today? Has there been a recent breakdown? A trust no longer there? A friend no longer near? A dream no longer clear? A future no longer bright?
Take heart! It is in that precise crucible that God can (and often does) do His best work!
Some of your best traits and some of your finest works will grow out of the incredibly painful periods of your life.
As a lifelong admirer of President Abraham Lincoln, I have devoured more than a few biographies about him. Among the best was Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a volume that presents Lincoln’s brilliant political act of enlisting into his cabinet some of the men who had run against him. Surrounded by a team that didn’t believe in the viability of the Thirteenth Amendment and pressured by men in his own party to compromise with the South to end the war sooner, Lincoln refused to fold. He challenged his peers to rise above their doubts, to act upon their shared goal of ending slavery in America, and to press hard against the opposition. In the end, Lincoln’s convictions carried the day. Against all odds, clinging to hope against hope, he led this team of rivals to achieve the defeat of slavery.Marking the Milestones of God's Grace
Originally, the word referred to a stone used as a mile marker. But it can also refer to a significant point in development—a turning point in life. God showed His interest in milestones when He created ways of measuring time. He gives us all kinds of milestones. For instance, seven days make a week, and 52 weeks make a year. Holidays and seasons come around annually to signal a repeat of something significant. Milestones such as these offer us points in our journey that allow us to measure our development. They provide us opportunities to look back over time and see the memorable ways that God has graciously worked in our lives to impact others.God Had a Plan (And Still Does)
For the longest time, I didn't understand the new-car industry. I had always thought when a person wanted an automobile, he or she dropped by the local dealership, kicked a few tires, and placed the order with the salesperson. I figured that when headquarters got the specs, they'd scurry around the shop to find the right steering wheel, chrome strips, and navigation system and put it all together. You know, kind of like whipping up a last-minute meal in the kitchen. Simple, right? Wrong.
More and more, it seems that those who follow God are in the minority. So how do you stand firm in your faith when the world is battling against you? Chuck Swindoll draws from John’s wisdom and passion in order to reignite the flame of devotion. Where indifference sets in, cults and heresy are not far behind. Let’s heed John’s words, which remain vital today.All Sermons by Chuck Swindoll