With ALL Your Might?

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Ever felt as if your love for others is seen as a weakness, your joy in the midst of trial as ignorance, your peace in the fury viewed suspicious, your kindness as flirting, or your zealous praise for our God and Savior unusual? As Christians these characteristics are common when we trust and rely on God for strength, peace and direction, but those who aren’t Christ followers can easily misinterpret them because they don’t understand the power of faith and God’s love.

In 1 Samuel 6:14-16, we find David rejoicing as the Ark of the Lord returns to the city of David to finally be placed inside the tent David prepared for it. In verse 14 it says, “David was dancing with all his might before the Lord wearing a linen ephod.” I love to imagine what someone dancing with “all of their might” looks like. It reminds me of a video I shared years ago of my son on the beach doing his happy dance.

In 1 Chronicles 15:27-28 it even tells us that, “All Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, the sound of the ram’s horn, trumpets and cymbals, and the playing of harps and lyres.” What a celebration it must have been to finally have the ark of the Lord among them once again. However, when you continue in the verses you see that on his David’s wives (Saul’s daughter, Michal), “looked down from the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart.” (v.29)

There are a few different reasons that scholars believe Michal looked upon David in disgust. First, she may have been angry that when David returned after Saul’s death to lead Israel, he had Michal taken from her second husband and returned to him (since Saul gave David Michal in marriage years earlier). Second, she may have seen his behavior as vulgar as she states in the verses below.

When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”

However, another reason given for her disgust is that she was may not have had a sincere faith in God. We see in 1 Samuel 19:13, “The Michal took the household idol and put it on the bed, placed some goat hair on its head, and covered it with a garment.”

I the latter had more to do with Michal’s disgust at David’s praise explosion than anything else. So often, when we are judged for our faith, confidence and trust in God it’s by others who do not share the same level of faith that we do. We understand God’s hand is in every detail and try to confidently live in His divine plan. However, those who do not have a strong faith (or any faith at all) may see it as a weakness, vulnerability or just simply not understand, so they find it odd. I believe that is where Michal was. She may have even had a bit of jealously in her heart for the love and faith David had in God. All that said, never be discouraged when you are judged, for you are in good company. Get out there and trust with all your might, praise with all your might, believe with all your might and show off your faith with all of your might.

21 David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” 23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death. 2 Samuel 6:20-23

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Unseen Footprints

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These verses from Psalm 77:16-20 that David penned as he reflected on God’s provision and promise keeping for his people stirred my heart as I read them.

The waters saw you, God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. 17 The clouds poured down water, the heavens resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. 18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. 19 Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. 20You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

There have been many times in my life that the storm waters seem to rising faster than I can escape to higher ground. Fearing the sorrow, pain or disappoint will overtake me, I sometimes swim so fast I miss God’s face. Things move so quickly and my mind is so cluttered in times of crisis and He can seem like nothing more than a blur. “Where are you in all of this? How can this suffering made into a thing of beauty?” I cry out.

In those times, I try to remind myself that I am only human. Knowing and trusting that God will prevail, rise us from the ashes and make something spectacular out of the horrible is what gets me through. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve seen Him work in truly astonishing ways. When I have the moments that I cry out wondering why His “footprints are unseen” I stop. I look. I listen. I trust. . . . and no, it isn’t easy.

In the midst of wild storms and trials our God is always there, but don’t forget to stop and take note of your surroundings . . . . for somewhere among you He has sent someone to lead, love and guide you. Just as David reminds us God did for the Israelites through the leadership of Moses and Aaron. So, don’t forget to look around next time you are in a storm. Look around and you will no doubt discover a life-preserver floating nearby that you need only trust and grab on to. You may not see Him, but He is there and you will sense Him if you stop for a moment in stillness.

And when you aren’t in a storm? Please continue to look for Him, because there is always a storm brewing somewhere and you never know who God will place in your path that may need you to throw out a life-preserver to.

Although we may not see His footsteps clearly, He truly is in every detail.

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:1-2

Half-time Revelations

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I wanted to take this week to reflect and share some exciting revelations I have had on the journey I’ve been on this year as I read the Bible chronologically. I’m half-way in my reading and I’m overflowing with all God has been showing me.

Throughout my 30’s and 40’s (when I finally dug into scripture on my own) God has revealed some pretty amazing (but simple) ways to make scripture come alive. I’ve shared those tools in my book In the Mi[God]dle: Keys to Keeping God in the Middle of All We Think Do and Say and when I speak to women’s groups. However, God has opened my eyes to another incredible and easy way to study scripture that has brought me so much closer to Him. Not only that it has given me a deeper understanding of the thread He has woven through history since He created Earth and man and given me an appreciation and eye for Him in my daily life and world events. It’s not that I ever doubt God’s existence, power or attention to detail – it’s just that sometimes I put Him in my “human” box when He is so much more – so much greater. I sometimes simplify the greatness and forget to look at Him with the awe, gratitude, praise and adoration that I should.

Those of you who have been following my blog for some time know that I’ve been reading the Bible chronologically since January on a one-year reading plan. All my blogs for 2015 (and part of 2016) are about (and going to be about) the revelations, ponderings and treasures I’m finding in reading the Bible this way for the first time. Not only am I readying it in chronological order, but I’m reading it in a translation I’ve never read (Holman – HCSB). Approaching the Bible through these two new lenses has been incredible.

I can hardly put into words how much it has impacted my walk with Christ and my understanding of the scriptures. Simply put, reading the Bible chronologically has made me want to dance like David in pure abandon, without a care of who is watching and throwing every bit of energy, love and might I have into worshiping our Creator.

Here are just a few things that the Lord has opened my eyes to since I began this journey:

  • It’s a story. I know we already know that, but there is something about reading the story in order that makes it so much better! Imagine reading one of your favorite books out-of-order. Things just don’t make as much sense and are more difficult to grasp and understand (i.e. history timeline, descendants, story lines). I’ve been so excited about “the story” at times, I’ve completed a weeks worth of reading in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down.
  • Not only that, did you know that Chronicles and Kings repeat many of the same stories? OK, maybe you know more than I did, but I never realized it. In order you read them back to back so it reinforces the story and you may catch a glimpse of a small change in wording or detail.
  • Imagine reading in 1 Chronicles about David, all his struggles, sins, etc. when what comes next is the Psalm he wrote during that time. The Psalms in context are even more beautiful and full of meaning when they are put into the context of David’s life and trials. Consider this, if you just hear a song you like it’s easy to enjoy it, but if you read their personal journal about what going on in their life and how and why the song was written it comes alive in a new way.
  • When you read the Bible in order you have a fresh glimpse into how God’s hand REALLY is in every detail. It’s not just a saying anymore. It’s real. You see His hand at work as each leader or King gains or loses his power. You see how God raises up the shepherds’ son and understand how it all ties together.

This is just a taste of all God is showing me through this journey. I pray you will consider purchasing a chronological Bible and begin reading it for yourself or (if you are more patient than I am) you can go online and print out a chronological reading plan for the Bible you already have. Just know you will be doing a lot of turning and flipping of pages. That’s where the patience comes in. Please let me know if you decide to take this journey. I would love to know you are doing it and pray for you along the way.