What Do You See?

jj  What do you see?

What do you see in this picture? Do you see an old lady or a young lady? Do you find it interesting that how you look at something determines what you see? The same principle holds true in 1 Samuel 17:24-27. When the men of Israel saw Goliath they all fled and were afraid. When David saw Goliath, he saw a man that disrespected God and got angry. How could they both see the same thing and have two entirely different perspectives? The answer is very simple. The men of Israel were looking through the eyes of fear and David was looking through the eyes of faith.

The question on the table now becomes, is it possible to change what and how you see? The answer is yes, you can and here is how. The difference between the men of Israel and David is the men of Israel had not been cultivating intimacy with the God of Israel whereas David had. It is because of his pursuit of God that controls how he saw things. Not only was this true of David but it is also true of you. Whatever you are feeding your mind, will control how you see things. For instance, if you have a diet of the world and there is where you are investing all your time watching the news, reading articles about politics, following what is trending on social media, listening to secular music and embracing worldly podcasts, then when you face things in your life, those sources are going to be influential in how you view and deal with things. Let me give an example of a time in my life when I was living with a diet of the world.

When I was in college, I scheduled my classes around two things: Football because it was paying for my education and a soap opera entitled Days of Our Lives. For two years, I gave this soap opera 5 hours per week. What I noticed was that I started responding to things in my life the way I saw people on that soap opera respond. Why? Because I gave them 5 hours a week in my head. I had a diet of the world. Today, I make a conscience effort to make sure I am daily consuming a diet of the Word: studying God’s word, memorizing and meditating on the scriptures, listening to biblically sound music and listening to sound doctrine taught by faithful pastors on the internet. When this became my diet, then I become biblical in my thinking which in turn would influences what and how I see, which greatly impacts behavior. David’s commitment to his relationship with the Lord helped him see things through the eyes of faith. He simply cultivated intimacy with God and that intimacy dictated how he responded to the giant that disrespected His God.

Are you in need of a change in diet? If so, the only way that is going to happen is that you must become intentional about what you consume. Cultivating intimacy with God is challenging because Satan does everything in his power to make sure that you are not successful. That is why it is imperative that you don’t try to plan God into your day. Instead plan your day around God. What does this mean? It simply means, the first thing you day each day is settle the issue about when, how and where you are going to spend time with God. Once that is settled, then put the remaining items on your schedule. When you do this, you will be well on your way to viewing all of life through the eyes of faith rather than the eyes of fear. Have you scheduled your time with the Lord today?

Food for Thought:
“This Book is the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding; its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. Follow its precepts and it will lead you to Calvary, to the empty tomb, to a resurrected life in Christ; yes, to glory itself, for eternity.

The Price of Fear

What is fear?  It has been defined by Webster’s dictionary as a strong, unpleasant emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.  This thing known as fear can cause us to make some untimely and unwise decisions.  Just because those decisions were made from fear does not change the consequences that accompanies those choices.  In 1 Samuel 13:1-15, you will find a story about a man that allowed fear to cause him to panic and take some actions that would have devastating consequences.  How do we keep fear from causing us to make such bad decisions?  By responding with faith.  This means we must evaluate the situation that might breed fear and look at it considering what we know to be true about God.

In the 1 Samuel 13, rather than Saul reflecting on the instructions that had been given to him by Samuel, he allowed the presence of the Philistine army to infuse him with fear, de-valuing what he knew to be the directive of God.  He made a bad decision. If we are going to overcome fearful things, we must have some truth that will give us clear vision to see the situation as it really is…how God sees it.

For instance, all Saul had to do was remember how he met Samuel in the first place and what Samuel told him at their initial meeting.  See 1 Samuel 9: 19-21, there you will find that Samuel informed Saul that the donkeys that he had been looking for had been found.  He went on to tell Saul that God would use him in a mighty way.  If that wasn’t enough to help Saul not be fearful, he should have remembered what Samuel told him in 1 Samuel 10:3-10.  This prophecy was so detailed and everything that Samuel said happened exactly how Samuel said it would happen that same day.  Instead of recalling and rehearsing on what Samuel told him, he focused on the army of Philistines and was frightened of their potential.  If you and I are going to overcame fear we must learn how to fight with faith, regardless of what our eyes see. This faith only comes through the word of God.

 

I don’t know what methods and schemes that Satan has launched against you to you encourage you to be fearful, but I do know that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world AND we can trust God to do what he said He will do.  Rather than running in fear, stand in faith and see the power of God at work in your life.  Saul’s fear cost him his kingship, what has your fear cost you?

 

Food for thought:

Sometimes the Lord calms the storm. Sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms his child

Pastor Reggie Hutchins

Gaining Perspective by Reggie Hutchins

How does a child of the king process the current events that are going on in our country?  Should we rebel? Should we march?  Should we protest?  What is an appropriate response to the recent shootings?  The first thing that we should do is gain perspective.  The reason this is important is so that we can respond effectively.  Satan would love nothing better than to see the saints of God respond inappropriately.  He loves to deceive us by having us fighting against the wrong perceived opponent and that is what I see him doing here.  He wants to make it a black vs. white issue and have us fighting among ourselves as he goes about stealing, killing and destroying.  The issue is not a “black or white” issue.  It is a “sin” issue.  Not the sin that was committed by either person in the recent shootings, but the sin that occurred a long time ago, back in the garden.  The shootings that took place recently are a direct result of Adam’s sin.  The same thing that motivated Cain to kill Abel was the same thing that motivated these policemen to shoot these citizens.  These actions are a result of the depravity of the human heart that is a result of Adam’s sin.  Look at what Galatians 5:19-21 tells us about what is true about every human as a result of the fall.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God

Notice the enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions and divisions…  All of those things lead to ungodly and violent behavior.  These things are innate in all humans and if they are not addressed biblically they will manifest themselves in a variety of ways.  One of which is the senseless shooting of another human.  Because the depravity of humanity is so strong, it causes a person to try to justify their actions. When a person is not born again, there is no taking responsibility for ending a life created in the image of God, only an effort to justify the murder.  Why is that? Because it’s just human nature; which is a result of the fall.   So we have to regain our perspective. A failure to do so will cause us to respond in the wrong manner.  It just like going to the doctor.  Would you rather him treat the symptom or treat what is causing the symptom?  I don’t know about you I want the doctor to find and treat the cause rather than treating symptoms and providing temporary relief.  These shootings are just symptoms of a greater problem.  The problem is a corrupted heart that is totally depraved.  Listen to what Romans 3:10-18 tell us:

10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”  “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Once we regain the right perspective then we are in a position to pray.  1 Timothy 2:1-2 it says:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

God has placed us here, as the body of Christ, to be an agent for change.  The way we change things is on our knees.  You know how the children of Israel were delivered from captivity?  Through prayer.  You know how our forefathers were delivered and survived slavery?  Through prayer.  We must begin to follow the instructions that God has given us.  According to Romans 13, all authorities have been placed there by God for our good, that is why we have this obligation to pray for them.  As the body of Christ, how are we praying for those that are in authority over us?  I really believe that these recent actions are a direct result of prayerlessness.  Notice the promise that is given when we pray.  We will ‘live a quiet and peaceable life’ here on earth.  We will not live in fear of police and people of authority.  Instead we will be glad to see them because they are God’s servants for righteousness.  But when we don’t pray, we will have fear, the fear that is running rampart across America… the police are afraid and people are afraid.  Everyone is fearful because they don’t know how the other person will respond.  Since so many are operating ‘in fear’ should let us know who is behind all of this.  God did not give us a spirit of fear.   In light of this truth, let us make a commitment to be obedient to what the word of God has instructed us to do.  Let us take all of our leaders, black and white, men and women to the Lord in prayer so that we can live that quiet and peaceable life that the Father has promised us.

Once we have gained the right perspective and commit to praying, we are now ready to persist.  Keep that perspective. Pray.  In reflecting, I am reminded of what Nehemiah did when he found out about the wall being down around Jerusalem and the city laid in ruin.  He began to pray and continued to pray four months. For the first time, Nehemiah went into the king’s presence with a sad face (which was punishable by death). The king, who was a pagan king, asked him why he looked so sad since he was not sick.  I am convinced that it was because of his persistence in his prayer life that Nehemiah was able to respond properly, explaining his sadness and his heart’s desire. God had also given him a plan to rebuild the wall and courage to ask the pagan king to provide what he needed to do the work and leave from his palace responsibilities.   If we show the same persistence I really believe the Lord will show us how to deal with these situations in a way that brings him glory and strengthens the body of Christ.

God has presented us with a great opportunity but we must know how to fight and who to fight.  We must fight from our knees and fight against Satan.  The solution that has been given to us to deal with the major issue is the gospel.  We must live the gospel and preach the gospel.  It is the only hope for today.  Don’t allow Satan to have you fighting the wrong battle and engage in the wrong fight. The battle is a spiritual battle and must be fought with spiritual weaponry. It’s not a race issue, it is a sin issue and must be addressed accordingly.

Reggie Hutchins is the pastor of Unity Baptist Church in Tallahassee, FL