Risks and Risk-Taking

Here are some thoughts on risks (not too sure where I got this)

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.

To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.

To reach out for another is to risk involvement.

To expose your feelings is to risk revealing your true self.

To place your ideas and dreams before another is to risk rejection.

To love is to risk not being loved in return.

To live is to risk dying.

To hope is to risk despair.

To attempt is to risk failure.

Do you ever think about risks or risk-taking? Are you a risk taker or a risk avoider?  I believe that God wants us to take risks in life.  I am not talking about foolishness but about taking a risk and trusting God.

Here are some more thoughts on Risks:

  1. Where there are no risks there are no rewards.
  2. The greatest risk you can take is not serving Christ.
  3. Faith is always an important first step
  4. The Holy Spirit is a key to taking right risks.
    I invite you to read 1 Sam. 14:1-23 to see a great passage on risk taking – one of my favorite passages in all of the Bible!

What are any thoughts you might have on risks?  What an example where you risked and it did not work out like you thought?

Kindness, Grace, and Generosity (Part 1)

What we need to understand is that acts of kindness, graciousness, and generosity to others need to be a priority for us and there is a beautiful picture of this in 2 Samuel 9. Here in this chapter we have another one of my favorite stories in the entire bible so let us take some time and look at David and an act of kindness, generosity, and graciousness that he performed.

2nd Samuel 9:1 – Then David said, "Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?"

This goes back to a promise that was made between David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:14,15 " 14 And may you treat me with the faithful love of the LORD as long as I live. But if I die, 15 treat my family with this faithful love, even when the LORD destroys all your enemies. David is following through on this promise that he had made with that Jonathan and now is searching to find out if there is any family of Jonathan left. God has been kind to David over the years and now he wants to pass the kindness on. I want you to notice that David was proactive in his kindness. Too often we wait till someone is hurting to do something nice for them. David just did something kind for the sake of being kind. David makes the choice to be kind or better yet gracious. David is going to be showing a great amount of grace to Jonathan’s family.

The question to ask is this: What can I do for other people? David was intentional in his kindness here, are you intentional in yours? What acts of kindness can I do for others? This is a question that we should be asking. Too many times we ask what is in it for me. I am reminded of the scene in the movie Field of Dreams, when Terrance Mann is asked to go out into the corn field with the baseball players. Ray Kinsella who took his land to build the field gets frustrated about this because he wanted to go and see what was out there and he says: I did it all. I listened to the voices, I did what they told me, and not once did I ask what’s in it for me. Shoeless Joe Jackson the lead baseball player responds: What are you saying, Ray? Ray then stops then says: I’m saying? What’s in it for me? You see the heart of the matter was he was trying to get something out of it. How often is this us, we make things look so good and do work saying it is not about us but then we get caught saying the same thing as Ray – what is in it for me.

Instead of asking what can I get out of this we need to have David’s perspective attitude and ask what can I do for others. When was the last time you did something for someone else and did not expect something in return? When was the last time you did something for someone that they just did not expect? That is what we are seeing from David here and that is what we should be doing.

Let us move forward: 2 Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David; and the king said to him, "Are you Ziba?" And he said, "I am your servant." 3 The king said, "Is there not yet anyone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God?" And Ziba said to the king, "There is still a son of Jonathan who is crippled in both feet."

David searched out and found one servant of Saul’s who remained. David called him to him and asked who remained from Saul’s family of whom he could show the kindness of God too. The answer David got from Ziba is there is one left and it is one of Jonathan’s sons, the one who was crippled. Let us look back to 2 Samuel 4:4 to read about how he became crippled. Now Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the report of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened that in her hurry to flee, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth. So we see that the nurse was in a hurry to get him out of the house. The reason was she heard that Saul and Jonathan were both dead and now they would want to kill all the descendants and Mephibosheth was one to be killed. In her hurry the boy fell and became lame. How he fell is unknown but he did and became crippled as a result.

The name Mephibosheth means, “shame”. He is a young man whose father and grandfather were killed when he was 5 which means he would be about 25 at this point when David is looking for him. As we have just seen he is crippled. He is in the economy of that time absolutely worthless because of his being crippled. He was an heir to the throne but it is not possible that he could never lead troops into battle. He could not even be a servant of anyone because of his disability. He later himself says he is worthless. He had such a promising future as a child but now he is just considered a worthless human being because of being crippled.

Do you ever feel spiritually crippled? Do you struggle with feeling worthless? Know and remind yourself of this fact next time you struggle with such feelings:  if you have place your faith and trust in Christ then you are a child of the King.  You are a son or a daughter of God and that is where your worth comes from.  Never think of yourself as worthless because you are God’s child. You are a worthwhile child of the King.

What is the coolest thing you ever surprised somebody with who just did not expect it?

Power of the Positive–Part 2

This week we are focusing on this passage from 2nd Samuel 1:17-27: 

17 Then David chanted  with this lament over Saul and Jonathan his son, 18 and he told them to teach the sons of Judah the song of the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jashar.  19 "Your beauty, O Israel, is slain on your high places! How have the mighty fallen! 20 "Tell it not in Gath, Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, Or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, The daughters of the uncircumcised will exult. 21 "O mountains of Gilboa, Let not dew or rain be on you, nor fields of offerings; For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil. 22 "From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, The bow of Jonathan did not turn back, And the sword of Saul did not return empty. 23 "Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, And in their death they were not parted; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions. 24 "O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, Who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet, Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. 25 "How have the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan is slain on your high places. 26 "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful Than the love of women. 27 "How have the mighty fallen, And the weapons of war perished!"

What we see when we go through this song is that David shows the great love and generosity in his heart towards Saul. It shows that David didn’t kill Saul with a sword or with in his heart or mouth. Here is what David saw:

· He saw beauty in Saul

· He wanted no one to rejoice over the death of Saul

· He wanted everyone to mourn, even the mountains and fields

· He praised Saul as a mighty warrior

· He complimented the personality and loyalty of Saul

· He called the daughters Israel to mourning, and praised the good Saul did for Israel

All this is a powerful testimony of how David kept his heart free from bitterness, even when we was greatly wronged and sinned against. David fulfilled 1 Corinthians 13:5: love thinks no evil. David knew the principle of 1 Peter 4:8: And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."

David could do this because of his great trust in God and God’s power. He knew that God was in charge of his life, and that even if Saul meant it for evil, God could use it for good. Have you learned this lesson? Even if someone has evil intentions, God can weave good into their poor choice.

There is a lot too this whole thought process of David saying positive things about Saul.  Imagine David not saying anything bad about Saul after everything, the running for is life for over 10 years. How can he do this? David seems to have already dealt with Saul’s sins against him by forgiving him. This is what seems to have freed Joseph to deal kindly with his brothers, in spite of their wicked actions toward him. I believe David has forgiven Saul, therefore he has no bitterness to suppress or to vent. It is a sad thing to harbor bitterness, because of the harm that it does to us. David does not have to dredge up the past because he keeps short accounts. Do you keep short accounts with people or are you living in bitterness? Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Bitterness harms you!

Do not let bitterness take root in you! Hebrews 12:15 – Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.  We see here that bitterness in us will corrupt many others. Let me ask you – are you a corrosive and toxic person? Are you so full of bitterness that you are spewing your corrosive junk over others? I challenge you to look closely at your life and see if bitterness is in you and spewing on others.

What are your thoughts on this?

Power of the Positive–Part 1

This week – we will spend the week focusing on this passage from 2nd Samuel 1:17-27: 

17 Then David chanted  with this lament over Saul and Jonathan his son, 18 and he told them to teach the sons of Judah the song of the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jashar.  19 "Your beauty, O Israel, is slain on your high places! How have the mighty fallen! 20 "Tell it not in Gath, Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, Or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, The daughters of the uncircumcised will exult. 21 "O mountains of Gilboa, Let not dew or rain be on you, nor fields of offerings; For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil. 22 "From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, The bow of Jonathan did not turn back, And the sword of Saul did not return empty. 23 "Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, And in their death they were not parted; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions. 24 "O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, Who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet, Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. 25 "How have the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan is slain on your high places. 26 "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful Than the love of women. 27 "How have the mighty fallen, And the weapons of war perished!"

Here are some thoughts to consider in this passage.  David’s eulogy is a psalm that mourns the deaths of Saul and Jonathan. David mourns over the defeat of Israel and the death of many Israelites, but this is not the focus of his psalm. His psalm expresses explicitly his sorrow over the deaths of Saul and Jonathan. The Amalekite messenger thought the news of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan would be good news to David. He was wrong. This psalm tells us that David feels a deep sense of loss and sorrow because of their deaths. David genuinely grieves over these men dying.

The following point is where we will stay the majority of this week and that is David’s eulogy says nothing negative about Saul. When David mourns the death of Saul, there is not even a hint of the mention of any of the evil or unkind things Saul did against David or others. How easy it would have been to include some of these details, to have indicated some kind of divine vindication, but David does not do so. How often do we do this in the things we say about others? How often do we just talk about people’s negative character qualities? How often is the negative the focus of our whole attention? We need to learn this lesson from David and allow only positives about others roll off our tongues and bounce around our minds.

David’s psalm honors both Saul and Jonathan as fallen heroes. David not only restrains himself from speaking ill of the dead, he honors Saul and Jonathan as war heroes, as men worthy of respect and honor. Who would have thought of Saul as someone worthy of respect? David did and we should look at those we disagree with honor and respect. It is a tough thing but a lesson that we could all stand to learn from David here.

I am amazed by David words about Saul and that is why we will be spending a week looking at this.  You have any initial thoughts on what is written here today?