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Spare Change - December 2021

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One of my favorite quotes is from Charles Spurgeon, the famous English Baptist preacher.  He said in a sermon in 1875 on 1 Samuel 17:36-37,

“Some saints have very short memories, it has been well said that we write our benefits in dust and our injuries in marble, and it is equally true that we generally inscribe our afflictions upon brass, while the records of the deliverances of God are written in water. It ought not to be! If our memories were more tenacious of the merciful visitations of our God, our faith would often be strengthened in times of trial.”

The sermon was from the passage where David is giving a reason for his willingness to face Goliath.  King Saul was questioning his ability knowing that he was a young man that was about to face a nine-foot-tall giant.  David stands firm in his faith as he answers Saul by thinking back to the time he was in the field and a lion came to attack his flock.  David believed that God gave him the power to strike down that lion and protect the sheep.  

The point Spurgeon is making is that when faced with questions about his faith David chose to look at God’s blessing in this life instead of something negative.  David could certainly have had a negative perspective about his job as a shepherd.  Being a shepherd was a difficult and thankless job; on top of that his flock was in danger from wild animals.  Rather than look at all the difficulties as bad, he looked at it from a different perspective.  He saw those experiences as God preparing him.  Which meant that if God had allowed these things to happen then He must want to use them for David’s benefit.  This would also mean they must be blessings and not curses.

Many times, it's all about what we focus on.  Like Spurgeon said, we take our hurts, offenses, and afflictions and permanently inscribe them on our heart.  It is as if we have chiseled them in rock as a monument to the difficulties we face in life.  After a while these monuments of negativity will overtake us.  We look at every circumstance of life, even the good things in a negative light.

The counterpart to this negative view is never remembering the blessing of God.  Spurgeon says it is like writing our blessing in dust or water.  How many times when you were little did you write something in the light layer of dust on the table.  Only for it to be wiped away by your mom’s dusting cloth.  We forget the MANY blessings of God as we allow them to be wiped away from our hearts.  This contributes to our negative perspective on life.

What would happen if we reversed our perspective?  What would happen if we forgot our difficulties and remember the blessings of God?  Our attitude would be more like David.  We would understand that a sovereign God has planned the good and the bad circumstances in our life.  We would understand that even the bad things can be used for God’s glory.  Sometimes the trials can be used in an even greater way.  It is those struggles that help us to mature in our faith.  They also prepare us to serve the Lord and minister to those around us. 

When I think of this subject, I go back to Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  Paul reminds us that ALL things work together for good.  Remember ALL means ALL!  God will use everything in our life to bring glory to His name.  He can use the good and bad circumstances of our life for His glory and our good.  Sometimes we just need to change our perspective.  

This week make two lists. One should be a list of blessings that you keep somewhere you can see every day. The other list should be a list of hurts which, after you write it you tear it up and throw it away.  Watch how your perspective will change not just on the good things in your life but on all circumstances.

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

Spare Change - November 2021

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David’s first assignment out of the pasture is as a personal musician to Saul.  This moves David away from his family into Saul’s court.  Ever since the Spirit of God left Saul because of his sin; Saul has been tormented by an evil spirit from the Lord.  This should not be interpreted as God using an evil demon, rather this can also be interpreted as sad or depressed.  This is probably a messenger of God used to torment Saul with sadness and discontentedness as a form of punishment for his disobedience.  Regardless of how you interpret the words, Saul was greatly distressed which caused his servants to look for relief.  They thought a musician could be used to soothe Saul.  The servants suggest David, as he could play the lyre and it seems was a renowned musician. 

When David went to Saul’s court and played his songs, they did in fact soothe Saul.  This was a good thing but not the best thing for Saul.  Of course, David did nothing wrong, he was doing exactly as he was commanded.  He played for the glory of God in service of his king, Saul.  Saul was the one that we can really learn a lesson from here. Remember Saul had disobeyed God.  He did seemingly try to repent but God’s mind was made up, the Lord would no longer be with Saul.  I wonder if Saul was truly repented or if it was a “I am sorry I got caught” sort of situation.  Saul became notorious for making quick apologies that were ultimately empty. His character was found lacking when it came to repenting in a way that brought gospel change to his life.  I have to believe that if he truly was repentant God would have delivered him from this tormentous spirit.  But Saul did not go to the Lord, instead he sought the relief brought on by music. 

Music can be a great way to soothe your spirit.  I love putting on a good song and letting it minister to my soul.  It is always therapeutic to sing at the top of your lungs in your car on the way home after a hard day.  I really love music; it is one of the greatest joys of my life.  In fact, as I  write these articles familiar music is blaring in my ear buds to get to what I call the writing flow. Even though I love music and I am sure you love music it can never be a substitute for the presence of the Lord. 

This goes for any sort of therapeutic thing we can think about in our lives.  I also find working out to be therapeutic, but if I put my hope in working out to deliver me from my problems then I am in trouble.  These things are short term solutions to problems in my life.  The only real solution, the only real place to find peace and hope is the Lord.  David knows this fact and records this view in Psalm 62.  Take a moment and give it a read. The first two verses are especially poignant, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him.  Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”  Can you see the contrasting viewpoints?  Saul put his faith in a short-term solution like music therapy and David in the long-term solution of trusting the Lord.  

I understand there is a place for therapy and therapeutic actions, but they can never replace the presence of the Lord.  We must keep our focus on our Lord Jesus and let him comfort us in times of trouble.  That is the only place we will really find hope and peace.  Remember Paul tells us that in Jesus we will experience a peace that surpasses human understanding.  I can tell you from my own experience that this is true.  So if you are hurting today, if your spirit is troubled, whatever you are going through, turn to the Lord and find peace in Jesus!

(This article is from a series of articles on the life of David that I have been writing.  You can read more at
bryangotcher.wordpress.com)

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

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