Faithful Follower or Fair-Weathered Fan?

Featured

a1 fan

Like a spiritual father that he was, Paul exhorts his spiritual children in Corinth to not be swishy washy in their walk. We read his words in 1 Cor 15:58 where he says, “…be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord”. As he closed this first letter he seemed to be giving them a last nugget of encouragement to keep them from vacillating in their commitment to following Christ.

Some years back when our hometown team was on the verge of going to the World Series, which they did eventually clinched. People came out of the woodwork and jumped on the bandwagon of being a fan. Everyone was buying t-shirts, banners and talking the talk at the water fountain and coffee counter. Everyone seemed to be diehard committed fans all of a sudden. They call these type fans, fare-weathered fans, because they are only committed to the team when it is easy and convenient.

I think many believers fall in this same type category of commitment in their walk with the Lord. You might call them fare weathered Christians. They are committed to Christ and His teachings as long as there aren’t any storms of life or a losing season in their daily disciplines. On the other side of the coin when they are in the midst of over flowing blessings it is easy to jump on the bandwagon of commitment. Yet, Paul knew that the believer was called to stand firm in their faith no matter what comes their way. Jesus said in Luke 9:62, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”. Therefore, Paul also exhorts the believers in 1 Cor 9:24-26 to be like


   Only being committed when it is easy and convenient is being a fare-weathered fan for Christ


the runner in a race that runs to win the race not just to be strolling down the track of life and also to those believers in Ephesus He says, “having done all to stand therefore stand”. (Eph. 6:12) Commitment without endurance is just a desire that never manifests into reality. The followers of Christ must live a lifestyle committed to being obedience to Christ rather than just being hinged with some sort of sacrifice. What I am trying to say is there must be more than just sacrifice. (1 Sam 15:22-23) Commitment is a must for every believer!

In Ps. 132 we read the psalmists conversation with the Lord, where he prayed that God would remember David’s commitment to Him. From the sheep fields to the Kingship it seems that this determined commitment that was birthed in him, grew more and more over time. The Spirit describes his determination and intensity in Acts 13:22, saying, “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will”. The Psalmist briefly reminds God of David’s commitment in Ps 132:2-5 which says, “How he … vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob: “Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house, Or go up to the comfort of my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes … Until I find a place for the Lord”. David never strayed from this passionate commitment to God, in fact if anything, it increased. Scripture reveals how David wasn’t perfect, but his heart was moved for God and the more he leaned into intimacy with Jesus, I believe God kept pouring His heart into him. In a sense, you could say God was stoking the fire of heaven in David’s heart over the years.

After your gone, how will people remember your commitment to God? What will be written on your headstone? Have you given Him opportunity to increase your burning passion to the point that your commitment is at the same intensity as David?

 

 

 

 

 

I might be tired but I am not Done!

images-36What seemed to be so natural and come so easy growing up, now seems to be a monumental achievement. One of those things for me is when I would walk the water ditch to the intake and clear out any blockages. That was a common occurrence since we lived in the mountains and received our water supply out of the “good ole mountain crick”. Back then I would run up to the ditch with no problem, but recently when I was back home “reality hit” when I had decided to make the climb for memory sake. Well, I sure couldn’t run up anything and actually thought someone would have to carry me out on a stretcher.

In the same manner, I have many friends that have run the Christian race tenaciously much of their lives, but now they’re out of the race all together. It reminds me of the scriptural story of King David, who we all agree was an incredible


There might be bumps, ruts and even some curves but Jesus is cheering you on in your race.


example of a “more than conqueror” as we are exhorted in Rom. 8:37 to be. In this passage he was once again fighting giants, but now finds himself struggling for the victory that in times past came easily. We read in 2 Sam 21:15- 17 that Abishai, Joab’s brother jumps in to rescue the King and spare his life.

In our lives also there will be a time that spiritually and physically you will not be as strong as you once were in your journey. That can be because of a lot of different circumstances, whether because of unforeseen events or maybe because of a season of apathy in your life. Bottom line is it doesn’t have to be the end of your journey. You might be tired but that doesn’t mean you’re done! God has ordained you to finish strong and fulfill His purposes, like David did. (Acts 13:36) There might be bumps, ruts and even some curves but Jesus is cheering you on in your race. The heavenly cloud of witnesses (Heb.12:1) are some of your biggest fans and cheerleaders.

I remember my coach in high school would always say to the team “pace yourselves”. He knew the game was going to be a tough long game, therefore if we were going to finish victoriously we would have to give ourselves times of refreshing and rest.

When David and his warriors were younger and in one of the fights of their life we see a great principle that we all need to take to heart and implement in our journey. It says in 1 Sam. 30:10, “David pursued, he and four hundred men; for two hundred stayed behind, who were so weary that they could not cross the Brook Besor”. One third of David’s mighty warriors were so physically and emotionally


You might be tired but that doesn’t mean you’re done!


weary that they couldn’t pursue and fight the Amalekites, who had taken their families captive. Yet, in the midst of this urgent dilemma we read that after recovery of their families that David stops any condemnation and shares the spoils of war with those that stayed with the stuff. (1 Sam. 30:22-24)

Paul tells the Galatians not to grow exhausted to the point of quitting, for we will reap the benefits if we stay in the game. (Gal 6:9) Paul also told the young church at Thessalonica to tenderly encourage those that were apt to quit along the way. (1 Thess. 5:14) Just like some of David’s warriors we might get exhausted and need to rest, but that doesn’t mean we will lose out of the benefits of the war. I encourage you to pace yourselves and finish strong in the faith!

The Hits Just Keep on Coming

Atlanta Braves v Chicago White SoxI believe most of us have had days that seemed to drag on with one bad circumstance after another pelting you. You might have even felt like you have some invisible bulls eye on your back that everyone else can see but you. Whether your day started out getting laid off at work and then on the way home you run out of gas to finally arrive to your house to find that the air-conditioning system is not working. That my friend is a day that you could pin the phrase, “the hits just keep on coming”. I imagine we all have a story we could tell about some day that goes down in our history as one of those days. The question is, can we prevent it or not?

In 1 Sam 30:1-26, we see David and his 600 mighty warriors coming back from battle. I am sure they’re looking forward for some downtime to heal their wounds


Deal with your sin before your sin Deals with you   (tweet)


and bodies from extreme exhaustion, as well as, connecting to their families. Maybe they had had some near misses in battle or even been in the clutches of death, but now they’re headed to there home sweet home in Ziglag.

Somewhere along the path home they might have noticed a small trickle of smoke quietly lifting in the blue sky. Maybe there was joking amongst them selves on whose wife was burning dinner or whose barn had just caught on fire. But tragically the fun jabbing became a nightmare as they got close enough to see the magnitude of the circumstances. The Amalekites had invaded their hometown, burning it and taking their wives and children captive.

This enemy that David had fought against some time back (1 Sam 27:9), where he hadn’t taken any captives had now returned and brought havoc to Ziklag. I can’t even imagine the thoughts that were invading these men’s mind. In 1 Sam 30:4-6, it says that they “lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep” and that “the soul of all the people was grieved…”. Knowing that your loved ones are now in the hands of a vicious enemy bent on revenge would torment you beyond words.

The sad and almost disgusting part of this whole story line is that the Amalekites should not have even been on this earth to bring havoc on David! David was dealing with an enemy that God had told King Saul to annihilate once and for all


It might be because of you that the hits just keep on coming!   (tweet)


in 1 Sam. 15:3. Yet, because of self-opinion and compromise, along with deception King Saul thought fit to disobey the Word of God that was given to him through Samuel the prophet. Because of this major disobedience this enemy was kept on the earth and the consequence has been monumental. First, we see that the kingship Continue reading

We have a Good Shepherd watching over Us!

Daily life in the highest village of AzerbaijanDavid brings his resume up before the fearful King of Israel in 1 Sam 17:34-35. The young shepherd boy responds to the king’s question saying, “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 struck and killed it. We also read that earlier David was nearly passed over by the prophet Samuel as a prospect to be anointed as future King because he was out tending the families’ sheep (1 Sam 16:11). The Reality is that David had much experience as a shepherd in his life.

Later this shepherd turned king pens the twenty-third Psalms. Where he articulates with great experience and understanding of the paradigm of God as the good shepherd. As David painted this word picture of God as shepherd he drew from


The Good Shepherd has promised His sheep, His Presence, Provision Protection and His providence along the journey. (tweet)


the many hours and days that were spent with the sheep; whether fighting off predators or calming the sheep with his singing, he could see God’s workings with His people.

Jesus Himself declares in John 10:11-16 that He is the Good Shepherd and that the good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. In contrast to a hireling who doesn’t take ownership and has no personal connection to the sheep and does only the minimum for a pay check. Jesus goes on to say that when the ravenous wolves come for the sheep the hireling turns and runs for his life, where as the shepherd gives his life to protect them. In Ps 100:3 we read, “we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” The Bible is full of references of how God as a shepherd will watch over His people and guide them alone life’s journey.

I grew up with friends that were from families who raised sheep for a living and therefore was able to get a glimpse of the life of a shepherd. Once the snow would melt in the high mountains in late spring they would herd their sheep up into the mountain’s to graze in the lush green meadows for the summer. The journey would take them through the varieties of terrain; valleys, mountain peaks and meadows,


I can trust the Good Shepherd with my Life    (tweet)


rivers and more. The shepherds would have to protect the sheep from the wolves, bears and different predators that loomed close by. Making sure that those that had a tendency’s to wander off were kept in the fold, as well as mending the hurts and keeping the tormenting bugs from harming their precious sheep. In turn the sheep would get used to the shepherds calming voice as he lead them to their destination.

The renowned Psalm “The Lord is my Shepherd” is sandwiched in the middle of Continue reading