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Devoted: A Study in the Life of David - Perspective

On Sunday, Pastor Ed made an announcement that our building pad is ready a week ahead of schedule!

Then he continued the sermon series on the life of David, taking up the story in I Samuel 20.  Two girls read the chapter, reading the parts of David and Jonathan, while Pastor Ed read the narration.

In this chapter, David makes one more attempt to give reason and calm a chance.  He meets with Jonathan to find out if he can reconcile with Saul.

Both David and Jonathan recognize that David is not a usurper.  God is the one working in David's life.

How do we relate to our own lives?  We'd like to be CEO.  We try to figure out how to be the most effective CEO of our lives.

Jonathan and David only saw each other one more time.  In I Samuel 23:16, Jonathan "helped him find his strength in God."

The Bible has a very different perspective on me.  There's so much about our lives we can't make happen.

We are executives over our own lives -- but not the chief.  That's not our primary function.

We're the CPO of our lives -- Chief Perspective Officer.

All sorts of things are aligned against David -- but he will be king.  God's purpose will prevail.

Our main job is to keep the right perspective:  God's perspective.

Psalm 73 is all about perspective.  So are Psalm 26:8 and Ephesians 1:17-18.

David's on the run for years -- and yet -- David will be king.

God protects, guides, and provides.

God Protects

Sometimes through circumstances

Sometimes through divine intervention

Sometimes through the efforts of trusted friends (as in I Samuel 20)

God Guides

Sometimes through circumstances

Sometimes through a direct word from God

Sometimes through the words of trusted friends with whom we're in community.

God Provides

Sometimes through circumstances

Sometimes directly

Sometimes through trusted friends in community.

 

This is what God does!

When calamity happens, look for what God is doing.  We know He will protect, guide, and provide.

There are many times David could have gone off the rails if he'd acted as CEO.

If we act as a CEO, we'll act out of fear or confusion.

God does know the future.  We don't.

Make it our primary job to root our perspective in God's way and God's will.

When we act as CPO, we begin to see our problems are not end points.

Even death itself is not an end point.

We can strengthen one another in God.

God's purposes will be served in our lives.

In fact, in Communion we celebrate ultimate failure.  We get a perspective adjustment every time we do this.

And we finished the service by celebrating Communion.

Book Review - Moving Mountains

I'm cross posting this review from my book review website, because this is the book my small group recently studied -- and our lives were blessed.

Moving Mountains

Praying with Passion, Confidence, and Authority

by John Eldredge

Nelson Books, 2016.  248 pages.
Starred Review

Moving Mountains is a book about prayer, and praying effectively.

We have embarked on the most exciting story possible, filled with danger, adventure, and wonders.  There is nothing more hopeful than the thought that things can be different, we can move mountains, and we have some role in bringing that change about.

As in his other books, John Eldredge reminds us that we are at war – but God has given us authority in the battle.

The Scriptures are a sort of wake-up call to the human race, a trumpet blast, to use Francis Thompson’s phrase, “from this hid battlements of eternity.”  One alarm they repeatedly sound is that we are all caught up in the midst of a collision of kingdoms – the kingdom of God advancing with force against the kingdom of darkness, which for the moment holds most of the world in its clutches.  Is this your understanding of the world you find yourself in?  Does this shape the way you pray – and the way you interpret “unanswered” prayer?

The author also points out that God is growing us up.  He’s teaching us to use the weapons He’s given us by throwing us into the battle.

Now, if you believed both assumptions, if they were woven into your deepest convictions about the world, you would want to learn to pray like a soldier wants to learn to use his weapon, like a smoke jumper wants to learn survival skills.  We really have no idea what sort of breakthrough is actually possible until we learn to pray.  Perhaps we, too, will be ending droughts and stopping wildfires.

With that background as to where we’re going, John Eldredge doesn’t leap right into prayer of warfare.  He lays the groundwork, looking at our beliefs about God.  Here’s a moving section:

A slave feels reluctant to pray; they feel they have no right to ask, and so their prayers are modest and respectful.  They spend more time asking forgiveness than they do praying for abundance.  They view the relationship with reverence, maybe more like fear, but not with the tenderness of love.  Of being loved.  There is no intimacy in the language or their feelings.  Sanctified unworthiness colors their view of prayer.  These are often “good servants of the Lord.”

An orphan is not reluctant to pray; they feel desperate.  But their prayers feel more like begging than anything else.  Orphans feel a great chasm between themselves and the One to whom they speak.  Abundance is a foreign concept; a poverty mentality permeates their prayer lives.  They ask for scraps; they expect scraps.

But not sons; sons know who they are.

Before he talks about praying for others, he covers our authority in Christ.

We really thought this life was simply about getting a nice little situation going for ourselves and living out the length of our days in happiness.  I’m sorry to take that from you, but you and I shall soon be inheriting kingdoms, and we are almost illiterate when it comes to ruling.  So God must prepare us to reign.  How does he do this?  In exactly the same way he grows us up – he puts us in situations that require us to pray and to learn how to use the authority that has been given to us.  How else could it possibly happen?

After talking about prayers of intervention, the book goes on to talk about consecration and about daily prayer to align ourselves with God’s purposes.  Then it covers prayer for guidance, listening prayer, praying Scripture, warfare prayer, and inner and outer healing.  The final chapter talks about outcomes that are not what we had desired.

I love this reminder:

Life wins.  Sometimes now, especially if we will pray.  But life wins fully, and very soon.

Just as we must fix our eyes on Jesus when we pray, we must also fix our hearts on this one undeniable truth:  life will win.  When you know that unending joy is about to be yours, you live with such an unshakable confidence it will almost be a swagger.  You can pray boldly, without fear, knowing that, “If this doesn’t work now, it will work totally and completely very soon.”  We can have that kingdom attitude of Daniel’s friends, who said, “God is able to deliver, and he will deliver.  But if not . . .”  we will not lose heart.  Period.

As we worked through this book, our Small Group found ourselves getting opportunities to practice what we were learning.  We saw some mighty examples of God working.  And we feel like we're only at the beginning of our journey.

I highly recommend this book for personal study, but especially for group study if your group is ready for an adventure together.

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