The Seed of Hope

A gift for tomorrow

Viewing by month: May 2012

Against All Odds

We've all heard the story of David vs. Goliath, right?

 

In short, David was the youngest of eight sons born unto Jesse, an Ephrathite from Bethlehem. He spent most of his days tending his father's sheep. David, per his father's instructions, had delivered some supplies to the Israelite soldiers (including three of his brothers) who were on the front lines of a confrontation with the Philistines.  The confrontation had been at a stalemate for forty days. Why? Goliath, the Philistines mightiest warrior, had essentially "called-out" the Israelites, challenging them to send out one man to take on Goliath himself. The winner of the two man fight would win the battle not only for himself, but also for his people. Those who backed the loser would become subjects and slaves to the people aligned with the winner.

 

Each morning, for forty days, Goliath had stood at the front line and challenged just one man from among all the Israelites to come out and face him; yet none had. Not one. You see, Goliath stood at nine feet nine inches tall! Because of his monstrous size, none in the Israeli camped dared to take him on.

 

That is, until David came along. David persuaded Saul, the leader and King of Israel, to let him go out and take on Goliath, armed only with his shepherd's staff, a slingshot, and five smooth stones tucked away in his shepherd's pouch. The battle didn't last long. As the Philistine approached, David reached into his pouch for a stone, loaded it into his sling, and let it fly. The stone buried itself into Goliath's brow, and the giant man fell to the ground; dead. The "battle" ended as quickly as it had begun. Against all odds, the young shepherd boy had defeated the mighty Philistine warrior.

 

David went on to fight many battles, more often than not greatly outnumbered, yet against all odds, won all of them. In today's passage from 1 Samuel, we're told of yet another of those victories, this time against the Amalekites. Facing an army greater in number than his own, David and his men fought from dusk until the next evening, emerging victorious.

 

Was this by chance? Was it by coincidence that David won all of these battles, including his first and most improbable victory against Goliath?

 

There's no such thing as coincidences, not when it comes to God. He doesn't leave things to chance.

 

So how do we explain David's "good fortune"? Here's a couple of things to consider:

 

   Above all else, David was in God's favor, or grace. David loved God so much.  God was at the center of David's universe, and he was after God's heart. God knew this, and He both guided and protected David during his lifetime.

 

   God NEVER sent David into battle unequipped. David always had everything that he needed to succeed.

 

What you need to remember.

 

David was in God's favor, but that doesn't mean that he was God's favorite. God doesn't play favorites; we're all His creations, and He put the same amount of His Love in creating each one of us. We received God's grace through the death of Jesus, but when we're after God's heart, when He is the center of our universe, and when we live to love and serve Him, we get an extra portion of that grace by being in His favor.

 

God will never call on you to do something without equipping you with everything that you need to do it. If you walk with the Holy Spirit, you will indeed be prepared for whatever comes your way. It may not be facing Goliath, but it may be something just as important to Him, like sharing His Word with others, or starting your own ministry, or even as simple as living your life to the fullest! God will provide you with everything you need to serve Him, at just the right time; even if it's just a slingshot.

 

 

Posted by Sam Maniscalco on 05/27/2012 at 7:17 AM | Categories: Life - Faith -

Thank You!

I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;

          before the “gods” I will sing your praise.

I will bow down toward your holy temple

and will praise your name

for your love and your faithfulness Psalm 138:1-2 NIV

 

How often do you associate “praise” with “thanks?

 

When we hear the word praise spoken or written in the spiritual realm, our thoughts naturally and instinctively turn to giving glory to God. When we speak of praising people, it usually has to do with an accomplishment, a talent, or a personality trait, i.e. integrity.

 

Quite often I’ll read the same passage from another version of the Bible, because more times than not it gives me a different perspective on what I’ve just read. Here’s a great example of what I’m talking about...

 

Thank you! Everything in me says “Thank you!”

Angels listen as I sing my thanks.

I kneel in worship facing your holy temple,

and say it again: “Thank you!”

Thank you for your love,

          thank you for your faithfulness; Psalm 138:1-2 The Message

 

Would you agree that taking praise out of the passage and replacing it with thanks changes our perception of David’s offering in this Psalm? We now see that David wasn’t merely praising God; he was thanking God! What’s more is that on many of those occasions David was going through some unbelievable hardships.

 

Everything in me says “Thank you!”David says to the Lord. Everything in me…It sounds as if David is consumed with gratitude for God, doesn’t it?

 

Are you?

 

We thank God when life is good, when everything is just right, and when His plans for us are unfolding the way that we want them to. How about when life isn’t so good and when everything is going the wrong way, and when we don’t like His plans for us at all? Do we take the time to thank Him then?

 

Our natural inclination is to thank God for the obvious things. We thank Him for His provision, for our health, and for His protection. We thank Him for answered prayer. We thank Him for “stuff.”

 

How about other things that we may take for granted because they’re not so “obvious?” For instance, how often do we stop to thank Him for His presence in our lives? Or for being the ultimate Father? For His abounding love? For giving us another day? For allowing us to draw another breath? For the miracle of life?

 

 

Think about it for a moment. Without God, there is nothing. Nothing. No good. No bad. No plans. No “stuff.” No life. Nothing.

 

Keeping this in mind, how can we not, much like David, shout to the Lord, “Everything in me says ‘Thank You!’”

Posted by Sam Maniscalco on 05/22/2012 at 7:40 AM | Categories: Life - Faith -

The Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5 NIV

 

Has there been an instance where you’ve read something three or four times, but on the fifth time, you’ve seen it with a “different set of eyes?” That is to say, you’re interpretation of what you’ve read several times changes, and in turn, your perspective changes as well?

 

Let’s change one word in this passage from John, and see if it causes a slight shift in our perspective…

 

In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God. Jesus was with God in the beginning. Through Jesus all things were made; without Jesus nothing was made that has been made. In Jesus was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. Jesus’ light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

Perhaps you’ve already “seen” this passage from this perspective, and it’s nothing new to you. What’s the big deal? You already knew this, and in fact, you grew up knowing it. No revelations here for you.

 

Then again, this may be the very first time that you’ve clearly seen what John was trying to tell us, and the realization of it is rocking your world, just as it did to me a couple of weeks ago.

 

You see, many of us of have either forgotten, or never really realized that Jesus is not only God’s Son, but God. The same may be said for the realization that “The Word” that people are always referring to isn’t just the Bible, but Jesus; God’s spoken word delivered to us, not by an apostle, disciple, or prophet, but by God’s own Son. The Word made flesh.

 

The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

 

When you view the world the Jesus’ eyes, when you feel with his heart, and when you seek to walk with his mind, the Word comes alive in you.

 

Jesus is the Word. He is the way, and the truth, and the life. Death will never claim him, and darkness will never replace his light. Never.

Posted by Sam Maniscalco on 05/12/2012 at 11:19 AM | Categories: Faith -

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