Me: Looks like you have someone to protect you there.
Prodigal; It feels good to have a protector.
We imagine a hero receiving the applause and the cheers. He is bowing to the crowd. He receives the trophy, money, title, reward or praise. We have seen the movies, shows and novels that have the grand scene of the hero defeating his foe and everybody cheers.
I want to remember another hero, one we know. David against Goliath. When did you first hear this story? Maybe you don’t remember, because you have seen and heard this story over a thousand times.
The story is one of a hero. A small young man fights against a giant of a soldier. He fights in the name of the Lord and wins. He saves the day for God’s people.
Then we get inspired. We want to be a hero. Is that wrong? Of course not. What the Lord wants to show us is that His way of being a hero can look different. I want to show you some verses first.
1 Samuel 17:33-37 (NKJV)
And Saul said to David, you are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”
But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God. Moreover, David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”
After examining this scripture, we learn something about God’s heroes. David first became a hero, alone with only God as a witness. David already had two major battles before he ever saw Goliath. He had fought a lion and a bear. Not a teddy bear. Not a lion cub. He fought them with a gun? He fought them with his brothers? He fought them from a distance? No, he fought them alone with his bare hands. He grabbed at them by his hands all alone with God by his side.
Before you are a hero in public, you have to fight your battle in secret with God. That is where many of us fail. David could have let that one lamb be eaten and shooed the lion and bear away. Nobody would have blamed him from losing one lamb to a huge beast. David stood his ground and risked being hurt to do what God called him to do. God had called him to protect the lamb and that is what He did.
He risked his life without anyone ever really know why he did it. He risked his life for a lamb who would not tell others about what he did.
That is God’s hero. I know you want to be a hero in public. God wants you to be a hero in secret first. He wants you to fight and risk your life, with only God as a witness. Then and only then can you be a hero for God.
This is from Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles by Amy Newmark
My husband had been out of work for months. We’d borrowed money from family members for groceries, gas and utilities. Bill collectors were calling every day and treating us as if we were criminals. Stress was eating away at our family.
One day, as I was driving to work, enjoying the silence and the beautiful Vermont spring scenery, I heard a voice. It said, “Turn on the radio.” Weird, but I did it. Then I listened as the voice on the radio told listeners about a contest the local shoe store was having. This was the last day to enter. They were also giving away free pieces of pizza. All you had to do was fill out an entry form and your could win a cruise to Bermuda and $25,000.
I decided to stop at the shoe store on my way home. My son would enjoy the pizza and I would enter the contest.
It was a busy day at work and I ended up forgetting about the shoe store. Then I heard the voice again: “Turn on the radio.” I did, and I heard the same announcement about the contest. I had one hour to get there.
What were the chances that I would hear a voice twice in one day telling me to listen to the radio so that I could hear the same pitch twice? I actually said out loud, “Thank you, God, for the reminder.” Then I drove to pick up my son. He was hot, tired and a bit cranky. He just wanted to go home, but he gave in when I told him about the pizza.
A storm was coming in when we got to the shoe store, and the radio personality who was conducting the contest outside the shoe store was packing up equipment when we got there. I quickly filled out the form he handed me. Then I drew a cross in the upper right hand corner of the small white square of paper and said a silent prayer.
By that time, the pizza was all gone, my son was disappointed and it had started to rain. We drove home.
That night, as we were all catching up on how our days went, I mentioned what I had done all the way home. My husband was a bit perplexed, as I didn’t normally participate in contests.
I explained about the voice and my family looked at me like I had two heads. I warned them, directing my comment to my husband: “When my name is called tomorrow, I won’t be able to hear it as I will be walking across the street to my job. Would you be able to listen for me and let me know?” He had a funny look on his face and said, “When your name is called?”
I laughed, stunned that I had said that and used the Angels in the Outfield movie quote, “It could happen,” in my defense. I didn’t think anymore of it.
My husband didn’t call me the next morning, but a co worker excitedly ran over to me when she got to work and said, “Kris, the radio station just called your name–you won the cruise to Bermuda!”
I was floored. I don’t win things. My life had been hard lately. I get seasick on boats. I didn’t know what I was going to do with the trip. I didn’t know if I was on a timer to call back, so I called the radio station to confirm they actually called my name and sure enough, I won the trip! Because I won for my local station, the station was entering my name into the second contest nationally to win a gift card for $25,000.
I didn’t think any more of it. I didn’t hear any more voices.
Two weeks later I was sitting in a meeting with someone I supervise and the phone rang. During meetings, I typically ignore the phone but I had the sudden urge to pick it up. I apologized. It was the DJ from the radio station. I had won the $25,000 gift card!
We were able to pay back my family and get the bill collectors off our backs.
Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.
Prodigal: It looks like we are all alone out here.
Me: The Lord is with us.
Prodigal: That is the key!
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in still another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty. Then for three years he was an intinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never had a family or owned a house.
He didn’t go to college.
He never traveled 200 miles from the place where he was born.
He did none of these things one usually associates with greatness.
He had no credentials but himself.
He was only 33 when public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
When he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race, the leader of mankind’s progress.
All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on earth as much as that One Solitary Life.
Why does this man speak against God ? Who can forgive sins but God only?
Prodigal: It is amazing what God will do with our lives.
Me: That is true we just have to trust Him with our lives.
This comes from the book The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
….In the intoxication of youthful successes I had felt myself to be infallible, and I was therefore cruel. In the surfeit of power I was a murderer, and an oppressor. In my most evil moments I was convinced that I was doing good, and I was well supplied with systematic arguments. And it was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually, it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, not between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart–and through all human hearts….So, bless you, prion, for having been in my life.
Having a rough day? The Lord can use anything and we can turn around and thank God for it. It may take time, It make take letting go of selfish ideals and replace them with obedience to the Lord’s plan, but He can turn around anything.
When Jesus way their faith,he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
Me: That one looks good, just make sure there is not one in your eye.
Prodigal: I need to check for that.
This is from the book Bold Love by Dr. Dan Allender & Dr. Tremper Longman III
Jesus instructed us to take the beam out of our own eye before we take the speak out of our brother’s (Matthew 7.5). In this way, He told us that the battle is not only against other, it is also within ourselves. Facing the deeply embedded evil of our own hearts is where the most bitter fighting occurs. It’s like a civil war. Your enemy, your old self, is a dearly beloved friend you really don’t want to kill.
This is one of those verses we do not quote when we try to justify a reason for a decision that we have made. We can think of a million others. Really though this is the verse we should start with. Remember those people who said they were only looking out for your good, when all they did was verbally attack you because they forgot to look in their own eye. Remember from them, learn from the bible and take a look in the mirror.
1 Thessalonians 5:15
See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
This is from the book Reclaiming Your Heart: A Journey Back to Laughing, Loving, and Living. by Denise Hildreth Jones
For too many of us, church has been the very weapon that caused us to shut down our hearts. It is where we have been judged the most, criticized the most, or encountered the majority of our wounds. It is also where we might have seen the critical spirit modeled and developed a critical spirit of our own.
It’s been happening since the time of the Pharisees. People who are hungry for God come up against a version of religion that focuses most on what they do or what they look like and binds them with a collection of rules instead of freeing them to live out their hearts. This misguided view relegates the beauty of a relationship with God to nothing but a set of regulations, leaving people lost in a maze of negativism and criticism.
I am with you and have been hurt by the church and rules that are not of God. Don’t think this is God though. He has people all over the world that are still fighting for His truth and want to show how a relationship with God is more than rules of man. We don’t give up on doctors because there are bad doctors. We just find the good ones. Don’t give up on God. Find people who really have a heart of God.
And immediately many were gathered together, insomuch that was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.